'Absent gods, here's another bunch of them,' Chav drawled, irritation in her voice.
'I hear them,' I grunted, shifting my back against the tree to find a more comfortable angle. Well, I'd heard the horses' clopping, any how. I opened a single eye, and sure enough, Chav was right. Four of them this time, green as grass. You wonder if they really thought wearing brown homespun tunics and trousers were going to fool anyone into thinking they were Just Folks ... while riding Sadasian stallions and those gorgeous tooled Mithlantri saddles.
Unfortunately, they also heard us. The chickling at their head spurred over to us, and raised her arm in salute to me. 'Captain? My name is Amberstar. We heard in Redwave that one of the orc columns were headed this way.' She grinned at me with her cheeks puffed out like a bleeding squirrel. 'We want to help!'
Joy and rapture unbounded.
An elven custom that has permeated the culture of the Kingdom, young people (from their late teen years into their thirties) often go forth into the world on 'errantry.' They travel, with only such possessions as they can carry, for a season or two, doing what they can to make the land a better place. Such wanderers take an 'errantry name' - usually a two-word amalgam such as 'Snowviolet,' 'Ashwing' or 'Oakstride,' by which they travel anonymously - and it is a serious breach of etiquette to call them by any other name, even if one is a relative of yours. Many will not directly ask for the name of someone who might be on errantry; the phrase 'Is it permitted to be introduced to you?' is common when directed to nondescript youthful travelers.
Traveling companions are close friends or agemates, so that they might learn mutual reliance as well as self-reliance. They are discouraged from using coin for their needs, it being more praiseworthy to make one's way through barter or work, and going on errantry with a fat purse is considered gauche. Their status they leave behind with their name, and they must live by the customs of commoners, as common folk do.
Popular literature is rife with errantry tales of great daring against terrible odds, fighting horrifying monsters, terrors from beyond and cruel bandits. Most errantry is not - somewhat to the surprise of glory-hopeful youth - like this. Among other factors, neither the national military nor professional adventurers are enthusiastic about untried teenagers on the battlefield! Most often, errantry turns out to involve civic duties - helping with the harvest, teaching a village's youth, aiding farmers in land disputes, and the like.
Errantry need not end with a season or a year. Some make it their lifelong work, and there are elves under errantry names found throughout the world, seeking for something for which they have not yet found. The greatest heroes of legend often earn their first laurels while on errantry. While few come to the Kingdom's capital city on errantry, many muster there before leaving, and late spring sees many such gatherings.
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? Responses (4)
I love the teaser.
After then you have the idea, a simple one, useful as a plot device and background piece. The idea is presented smartly, offering us both an ideal and a reality. The voice you chose to use is interesting. The information is presented as being very specific but without ever breaking the fourth wall. Yet despite this wise-man all knowing tone the world is not developed.
I suppose it is to be set in your typical D&D world and these elves are hanging with the humans while looking to assist in anti-goblin pogroms?
A nice footnote, again I loved the teaser.
Well, typical *fantasy* world, anyway -- I don't do D&D myself, and my setting doesn't have much in the way of anti-goblin pogroms. I expect anyone who grabs the idea'll adapt it to their own settings as they like!
Agree with Axel, I enjoyed the teaser as much as the actual submission. I like the idea of the elfin rumspringa sic public service, and I can see this cultural tradition bleeding over into the lands where half elves and elf friendly cultures can be found.
In my setting, it's done exactly that.