Deirdre had heard most of the conversation and simply smiled me permission to go to the doors. She followed closely as we both didn't want to miss a thing of what was about to happen. The doors were slightly ominous to us, even though they were simple, strong wooden doors without any ominously to them.
I opened them and walked through.
What I saw surprised me beyond my wildest dreams. It was a mess. An organised mess perhaps, but still a mess. In retrospect I might have been surprised by finding the Council in order and active this early. And active they were.
The room was big, as expected. There was a table, kind of as expected. But there my expectations were thrown overboard and cast aside. The table was full of... well stuff. Documents, plates, food and things. I couldn't even recognize some of them. Little statues and other weird objects were everywhere it seemed. With no sense to the chaos. Around the table were twelve, maybe fourteen men sitting and talking. Discussing, or perhaps just screaming against each other.
I heard Deirdre giggling next to me.
To my surprise the sound carried a lot further than anticipated. The room became silent with all of the men, fourteen as I counted them, looking at us. Their stares were quite intense and only one or two of them looked at us with any kindness. On this side of the door there was a guard on each side, standing with a weary expression on their faces. Though a hint of amusement at our predicament appeared to flourish on their lips.
The guy sitting farthest from us spoke, his voice rich and heavy. "Yes?"
I froze up for a moment until Deirdre poked me gently. "I would like to bring a message."
The man looked at me impatiently, a few of the men present grinned annoyingly. "Out with it."
I stepped forward. "Yes, well, as you may know there is a strong tension between the people and the Forest Spirits. With suggestive disappearances only serving to fuel the fire."
The man nodded. "Yes, we know all this."
"I would like to warn the Council that things are heading for another war, but this time between humans and spirits. I also wish to point out that there have been experiments on Forest Spirits in the Castles that have roused, completely understandable, responses from the spirits themselves."
The man nodded, a little slower. "I see. So what is the message your bringing."
I was at a loss for words for this. Fortunately I had my trusty sidekick with me. Although I often wondered if I wasn't her assistant most of the time. In many ways Deirdre was more able and cleverer than I. But I often thought too low of myself. Something which had been said to me on occasion. Fortunately I had at least some advantage still over Deirdre.
I mentally scolded myself for that thought and listened to what Deirdre said.
Deirdre stepped forward. "We can arrange a meeting between two of you and the Queen of the Forest Spirits. We, of course, will be there as mediators, but will try and keep out of the conversations. We also have some proof of both the Dark and the Light castle directly interfering with Forest Spirit life. Even killing them."
The man looked at me. "Why is she talking?"
That was a grave insult and I held Deirdre's shoulder before she could respond. "Because she speaks the truth as much as any man. I sincerely hope you will be wise enough to listen to her as the Queen of the Forest is a woman as well and not to be underestimated."
One of the other council members suddenly spoke up. "Yes, we've heard about the disappearances."
I smiled. "Those were not by the spirits."
The council was a little restless about this. I tried to pay extra attention to the individual faces. Some seemed relieved by the news, others a bit haunted. Of course half the council was Light and the other half Dark, but not everyone appeared to know what was going on. The man in charge called order to it all.
"Alright, we will agree with a meeting."
I looked back at Deirdre, who simply nodded. "Tomorrow morning at dawn at the main gate. From there we will take you to her. But remember, only two of you, one Light one Dark."
The man nodded. "Agreed."
So far, so good.