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Night Market

by Samantha Evans 2 months ago in Short Story
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Thyrame Chronicles

Night Market
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Sylli Lane wove her way between patrons, balancing her dinner on a tray. Her long curly hair concealed her pointed ears, and a stone-gray cloak hid her wings. Sylli Lane was a fae, a type of creature from Lolandil, another of its errant residents trying to find a way home.

Her sixth and last attempt at finding her way into Loladil resulted in her incarceration in a dank dungeon cell, far from the sunlight. For six years, she waited for this day, sitting in a human tavern. The scent of mushroom stew, fresh bread, and a tall glass of milk made her stomach rumble.

Finally, she settled into a seat far away from the other patrons and dug in. Stew had never tasted so good. She gobbled it down, using a piece of bread to mop up anything remaining, and washed it down with the milk.

Wiping her hand on her sleeve, she sighed, slipping some copper pieces onto the tray for her appreciation. Then, standing, she ensured her hair concealed her ears, and her cloak covered her wings before approaching the innkeeper. He was a tall, skinny fellow with a round face and heavy-lidded eyes, making him look perpetually exhausted.

“Hello, my fine fellow,” Sylli smiled, making a performance of putting her coin purse on the table, “Do you have any rooms available?”

“Nah,” He grunted, “Night market’s in town,”

“What is the night market?” She inquired, putting her hand on her coin purse.

“What's the night market?” His laughter boomed through the small alcove, “Where’ve you been? Under a rock?”

“You could say that,” She muttered, “So, what is it?”

He looked at her, and he discerned his point. If she wanted information, it would not be cheap. Opening her pack, she slid her silver coin; she had a precious few left. Though the guard had kept all of her belongings safe, a handful of gold was missing.

“Well,” He leaned in so close, her nose wrinkled at the smell of his breath, “It’s where they sell them artifacts from Lolandil, out in the forest.”

“Where can I find it?” She fidgeted. The straps holding down her wings irritated her.

He cleared his throat and held out his hand for another silver. Rolling her eyes, she obliged.

“You follow the lanterns out of Dayne, north until you reach the forest. From there, follow the sound of the river toward Valena. Don’t get lost; it’s said those faerie folk delights in turning you about until you are lost.”

“So kind of you to worry for me, but I’ll be fine,” She shrugged, “If that’s everything you can tell me, I’ll be on my way.”

“Don’t stumble on the way out, pixie.”

Sylli turned around, her eyes wide, but the innkeeper only winked. Blushing, Sylli exited the inn. Pixie, that was just rude; she was not a fairy. They were a completely different species. It was like calling a bumblebee a wasp. Both were black and yellow and could sting you, but pixies were aggressive and deceptive.

At nightfall, when the lanterns lit, Sylli did as the innkeeper directed, following the lanterns and the sound of the river. But, besides the river, she smelled the market first—the scent of spices from Sylli's homeland.

A bustling market gathered, from what Sylli noticed, humans and inhuman alike—all eager to pursue the treasures of Lolandil. Gleaming gemstones from dragon's hoards, shimmering fairy-woven silks, the cream of elven and dwarven craftsmanship, tables of dried herbs and spices, everything and anything for the right price.

Sylli ran her fingers over the trinkets and tokens, feeling the warm glow of Lolandil within them; nothing in Thyrame ever felt this close to home. She took a few moments to look around and regretted not having more gold. One thing that did not escape her notice was the merchants; all of them were human.

“You like that one?” A man asked as she hovered around a table of books written in elvish. She stopped to flip through one.

Snapping the book shut, Sylli sat it back on the table, confident the price was above her ability to pay.

“No need to be so jumpy,” He smirked, stepping closer, looking her up and down, “You’re an inhuman, same as me.”

“You don’t look inhuman,”

“If I were guessing, you’re a fae of some sort. Not a pixie, you didn’t try to steal the book or make another mischief. I’m an elf, just a very human-looking one. It helps business.”

“Prove it, do magic,” Sylli frowned, creeping one hand behind her to release her wings if she had to escape. How long had it been since she flew?

He snickered, “How about I introduce myself first? You look like you could use a story.”

Tapping an associate on his shoulder and muttering something to him in elvish, he beaconed her toward their tent. It was a beautifully woven fae- silk. It must have cost him more than Sylli could make in a lifetime.

Nevertheless, her curiosity won against her better judgment; something inside her told her she could trust him. Ducking into his tent, it was well furnished with a couple of chairs and a table. Sylli sat down across from him as he opened a book, “So what brings you to the night market?

“I don’t know, curiosity mostly,” Sylli shrugged. She had heard about it after exiting her sentence.

“I’m glad you’re not here for the humanizers.”

“What’s a humanizer?” Sylli frowned.

The man shook his head, "Our people are getting desperate and turning to the most nefarious means. Modifying their bodied to remove their inhuman qualities.”

Sylli gasped. She could not think of anything more horrible. Her wings trembled on her shoulders, “Is that what happened to you?” She questioned softly.

“Heavens, no, I’m half-elven."

"Half-elven?" Sylli questioned, "So one of your parents was human?"

"Yes, a charming lass from Albion, my father said.” But then, he grinned, “I don’t know; I never met her.”

Sylli sat and pondered what he said for a moment. Then, something resonated with her memory; a thought wafted across her mind: the name Berol Strake, the Hero of Dayne, "They say you died fighting monsters."

"Saved at the last minute by a guardsman." He smiled, "Fate still has plans for me, plans for you too. That haghould did not end me."

Berol found the page he was looking for; pulling a piece of chalk from his component pouch, he began to draw an intricately round circle on the floor, "this circle should send you to Lolandil."

"You can just create a circle and send anyone anywhere?" Sylli questioned, eyes wide.

"No," he cleared his throat, "I only have so many components and magic to draw upon, given my half-elven ancestry."

"I see; will you come with me?" She questioned, "you've been a hero to humans for long enough,"

"And I shall remain; I never seem to have enough magic to send two people."

"You're in luck," Sylli beamed, holding out her hand, "I may not have much magic left, but probably a trickle enough for you to draw upon."

"I've never drawn upon someone else's magic before." He muttered, picking up his spellbook and putting it in a pouch on the side of his leg.

"I'll show you how; take my hand." Sylli blushes as he comes to stand with him in the circle.

Berol stands with her and takes both hands, "Now what?"

"Come closer," She muttered, letting go of his hands long enough to unclip a strap unfurling her pair of glimmering blue monarch wings. "Close your eyes and envision the flow of magic from my body to yours through our hands."

Berol did as she asked in obedience. Then, opening his mind, he saw the ebb and flow of an endless enchanted sea, glimmering deep and blue. He felt his magic increase, drawing upon the azure sea, drowning his magic potential. Then, reciting the right words, he snapped his fingers, sending them both to Lolandil in a flash of emerald light.

Clutching Sylli’s unconscious body in his arms, Berol checks her pulse. He breathes a sigh of relief. He has not killed her. But his entire being bristles; they are in danger.

Short Story

About the author

Samantha Evans

Writer of Fiction and Fantasy; human, I have been turning Caffeine into Words since 2007. If you enjoy my work, please consider tipping.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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