We left the council after that. With one of the guards snickering and the other looking surprised. Interestingly enough, the guard who was amused, looked like he was laughing at the council, rather than us. I hoped he wouldn't get into trouble for it, but our departure probably masked it well enough. We closed the doors gently behind us as we left.
I sighed. "That went well."
Deirdre nodded. "Thanks for holding me just now. I sometimes forget how obnoxious men in charge can be."
I smiled at her. "Aren't I in charge of you?"
She grinned and winked. "Like I'd let you."
We started walking to the exit but stopped as the woman on the desk spoke up. "I'm sorry, but eh... Do you think they believed you?"
Deirdre answered. "They're sceptical but they appear curious."
She woman smirked a little bit. "If only they'd listen more..."
I spoke calmly. "Sometimes you have to be a little bold to make them listen."
She woman nodded and got back to work. The man sitting next to her looked a little surprised that she had spoken up but went back to work as soon as I glanced at him. There were still no other people here. But, as only a few minutes had passed, it wasn't that strange. Nothing kept us here anymore.
We left the building and headed straight for the closest gate. If we were to organize a meeting with Maeve and those council members, we should ask as early as possible. I actually expected her to be fairly close by, but I'm sure she'd want to arrange some safety for herself. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to make sure that we were safe as well.
But I didn't want to count on the Spirits for my own protection. Especially not if Maeve was around. I realized I didn't know that much of Forest Spirit hierarchy. Would a satyr risk his life for a nymph? Would Maeve even allow it?
We made our way through the city, walking through the crowded streets, until we reached the forest's edge. From there we followed the path, by foot, a little into the forest until we were gone from view. It was impossible to find anyone out here unless they wanted to be found. So I thought asking would be the easiest way.
"I want to speak to Maeve."
My voice was quite clear in the quiet forest. Deirdre stayed quietly next to me, looking around with curiosity. Just as I. There didn't appear to be any response to it though. The birds didn't suddenly stop whistling, the wind still blew. Sounds from the city, faint as they were, still carried over the walls.
Until a small creature came out from behind a trunk. A creature I hadn't seen before. Ever. you hardly even heard of them nowadays. But I supposed their minute stature made it much easier to hide.
Folklore was a bit vague on how they were supposed to look, but this was a little different from what I expected. It was a tiny man-like creature with a very feral look to him. Besides the area around his eyes, everything was covered in hair or fur and it was hard to tell if the fur was clothing or part of him. His brown colors of hair, fur and skin made him very hard to spot, even though he just presented himself to me. There was something undeniably male about him though.
He didn't speak.
"Do you know who we are?"
The gnome pointed up at the sun and the ground. I suppose he meant sun and moon.
"Can you bring a message to Maeve?"
The gnome nodded. A very simple gesture of understanding.
"Please tell her that we'd like her to meet us and two members of the City Council tomorrow morning at dawn. Near the main gate of the town."
Again a nod.
"Thank you, that's all."
In a blink's time, the gnome had gone back in hiding. I was surprised at how little sound he had made, at all. I was confident he'd get the message out to Maeve fast enough. For some reason, his silence definitely did not mean he was stupid or anything. He appeared quite clever actually. Just not used to speaking or used to keeping quiet.
Deirdre whispered softly. "Have you ever seen a gnome before?"
I shook my head silently.
Then Deirdre said something which reflected my thoughts in a way that I wouldn't have been able to do myself. It was just soft three words that said so much about our whole situation. In a way they were wrong but also incredibly right. They reflected the good side of all we'd felt so far. And, more importantly, they made me smile.