It was the 11th hour of the day when Amaria climbed up the steps carved out of the giant tree her family was living in. She had spent her day in the woods, hunting and being close to nature, and would have continued doing so for a while when she was called back. The head of the family, her father, wanted to see her. Which was unusual enough.
Amaria entered the living quarters silently, noticing her father standing with his back to her, looking out the window.
“You have called for me, father?”, she asked while making a deep bow.
He turned around, surprised about her sudden appearance and opened his mouth to speak – but Amaria was confused when the next spoken words did not come from him, but from behind her.
“I have requested your presence, actually.”
Amaria whirled around. To the right of the entrance door that she had just entered, a young human male in a long black robe was standing, his hands folded. Her surprise was followed by shock as she realized, that she had not noticed him. At all. She, the hunter, had not noticed a puny human and had turned her back on him. In the wild, this could have ended in her death.
The man lifted his arms, slowly. “Forgive my sudden appearance, it was not my intention to startle you.”, he said, smiling warmly. He was pretty, for a human anyways. Young, dark hair, and strong green eyes. His back was straight and there was not even a hint of insecurity in his demeanor, which made Amaria immediately feel respect for him.
Her father stepped next to her. “Amaria, this man is part of a very powerful cult and has come to show his respect to our family. Please treat him like he was of our blood.” With that he stared at her intently for a moment, and then turned around and left the room without a word.
The young elf was confused. Her father was the head of the family, and he expected her to talk to somebody important… alone?
“Please, sit with me.”, the human used the moment of her hesitation to tell her to take one of the chairs from the round wooden table at the center of the room – and this in her own house. She sat, numb and slightly irritated, across from him.
“I am sorry…”, she said. “But I must have missed your name.”
“I would rather not lie to you, so I am not going to tell you a fake name.” He smiled while filling a cup with water, pushing it towards her. Again, in her own house.
“Alright, NoName. You have called for me – I am here. What is your business?”
He laughed and Amaria could not ignore that it was a pleasant laugh. This man was friendly and surprisingly charming, even with the few actions he took.
“Straight to the point, so different than your father – I like that. You are most certainly not a politician like him.”
“My inability to one day lead our family to great power has been his greatest disappointment. No need to humble me.” Amaria took a little sip from the cup.
The human smiled. “I would disagree, but you wish to hear what I want from you.” He took a sip from his own watercup. “As your father hinted at so nicely, I am part of a very powerful association called the ‘Cult of the Dragon’. Our members are only of the finest, richest and most powerful… Of course, we operate in complete secrecy.”
He waited, expecting her to speak but Amaria stayed silent. She had no interest in cults and new gods. She had her own deity Melora and had no use for anything else.
“Let me be frank with you, Lady Amaria. The city you are living in is in our control at this very moment. Everyone of status is following our leader, receiving orders from ‘Him’.”, he continued. “And there are great things in the future of those who are in favor of the cult and it’s leader…” The man looked up into her eyes and paused for a moment.
“The Cult is planning a great operation within this city. Tonight.”
Amaria stopped playing with the cup. “… So you are telling me all this… why exactly again?” She wondered if she should be worried about this Cult that he was speaking of. If what he spoke of was true, the leaders of such an association would hold great powers, and could shape the future of this city dramatically. But the man in front of her did not seem like a fanatic – he even calmed her in an odd way. No, she wasn’t worried. This was nothing to worry about.
The man leaned forward slightly. “This operation… I want you not to be part in it. I want you to leave the limits of this city for the whole night today and all day tomorrow. Then I want you to return.”
“What is this operation you are talking about?”
He shook his head. “Unfortunately, only members of the Cult are allowed to know the details. But it will bring great power to this city, I assure you.”
Again, Amaria was not worried and nodded. “I understand.”
“When you return, I want you to be the spokesperson for your family. With the help of the Cult you will bring great honor and power back into the house of Kennyrraheal. Even more than it was before your birth.”
“Of course…”, Amaria nodded slowly. “It would be an honor to be part of such a powerful association.” Something irritated her about the last sentence he spoke, but she could not quite grasp what it was. She had a hard time staying concentrated.
The man smiled. “That is just what I wanted to hear. Now go, Lady Amaria. And do not return until tomorrow night, just as I told you.” And he patted the back of her hand softly.
Amaria stood up and started moving to the exit. She would bring great power to her family – her father would be so proud.
“Oh and, Amaria?”
She stopped, turned around and tried to look at the figure sitting on the table. It was so hard to focus… odd.
“Please give my regards to your brother when you see him, would you?”
“Yes… of course…”
And with that Amaria turned again and left her home – never to see it again.