Not every elf can be Orlando Bloom.
The high elf Lysanthir paced back and forth. His blue bathrobe and dreadlocks fluttering in a breeze he created himself. “You been training yer whole life for this.” He stopped and squinted at me. “You ready, Rolim?”
I nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Lysanthir’s mismatched eyes narrowed even more. “You got the colander?”
“Yes, sir,” I said again as I held up the once shiny metal bowl with holes punched in it. The light from the bug zapper filtered through the holes creating twisting patterns on the packed dirt at my feet.
“Good. Good.” The high elf waggled a finger with a chipped nail at the end at me. “You know what happens if you fail.”
“We’re trusting you not to screw it up.”
He eyed me, then straightened. “Get to it.” He dismissed me with the wave of his hand.
The other elves watched from their ratty camping chairs as I walked by. A few gave me thumbs up. Others shook their heads and sharpened arrowheads.
They thought I would fail.
Well, I wasn’t going to fail. Not at this. I squared my shoulders and turned to walk backward so I could see them all. “I will return!”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, my heel hit a root in the dirt road. My arms pinwheeled, the colander went flying and I fell on my butt with a hollow thump.
Shame burned through me as I scrambled to my feet and retrieved the colander. Lucky for me there was no damage to it.
“Why are we sendin’ him?” someone muttered.
“That there idiot is the last member of the moon clan.”
I decided to ignore them. This time I kept my gaze forward and managed to get through the rest of the woods without incident.
A tingle ran through my body, and I knew that the barrier was close. I slowed and waited until I could see the wall that stood between our world and the mortal world. It shimmered and moved like a smooth lake in the sunshine. Beyond lay a different place.
I’d been to the human world before, so I took a breath and walked through the barrier. It felt like a blast of cold water followed by a hot room.
Summer was almost upon the human world. Moisture hung in the air and the full moon moved slowly across the black sky above.
I glanced around at the park. I stood at the edge of some trees. A meadow of short grass led down to a slab of stone that housed metal tables with umbrellas. A quick inspection assured me that no humans were close by, so I jogged toward the slab.
Just as the high elf had said, the moon was almost in the right place. I got to the slab—a perfectly round stone almost twenty feet across—and started pulling the tables out of the way. Someone had chained them down, and I had to break them free. I grabbed a chain and yanked.
I’d pulled a leg off of one of the tables.
“Sorry,” I muttered as I tossed it all onto the grass.
When that was done, I glanced up at the moon and then went to stand in the center of the slab. As soon as I got there blue light gathered beneath my feet and began to spread out in a pattern of knots, patterns and a language now forgotten. I stayed there until the whole thing pulsed with light.
Almost all of it. I’d neglected to move a chain all the way off. I stepped out of the middle and the light faded. I kicked the chain out of the way and went back. By then the moon hung directly above me. I lifted the colander over my head.
The moonlight concentrated into a single beam which then rained down on the colander. I looked at the ground and found the moonlight shooting through the holes in the colander and onto the ground. It only took me a moment to align them and the glowing pattern.
A smile spread my lips.
They thought I would fail.
Not going to happen.
I took a breath and muttered the words I’d been practicing for months. They flowed off of my tongue, and I was almost finished when something landed on the colander.
A large black bird sat perched on the edge, which sent the pattern out of balance. The bird cocked it’s head at me.
“Shoo!” I said, shaking the colander.
The bird squawked and opened its wings to steady itself but did not leave.
“Go on, shoo!” I shook harder.
This time it flew away, but came right back.
“Get away.” I waved my hands.
The bird circled me.
“This is important,” I said.
It regarded me, and finally flew toward the trees.
I sighed in relief and then resumed my position. The patterns aligned once again, and I started to say the words.
But instead of fading away, as the light should have, it grew brighter.
“No, no, no.” I said. It was only then that I noticed the extra hole in the colander. Moonlight shot through it and hit a portion of the pattern that wasn’t supposed to get light.
The slab beneath my feet shuddered.
“Oh no,” I said.
A horn sounded from the woods, and I turned in that direction.
The whole of the elf army stood at the edge of the forest, ready for battle.
The stone beneath me bucked, and I tumbled off if it, the colander still in my hand. I hit my head and by the time I shook it off, Lysanthir stood above me, arrayed in all of his battle glory.
“Thank you, Rolim. You have done our realm a great service.”
I shook my head.
Lysanthir waved a hand. “Kill him.”