Last time, Unia moved in with the four elves, effectively becoming the matriarch of the household. After a few moths, they settled back into their routine.
Go to sleep you little baby
Go to sleep you little baby
Come lay your bones on the
And be my ever loving baby
lyrics from Go To Sleep You Little Baby, as performed by Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss
1310 AE, Black Haven road, Kessex Hills
Five years had past, and the five elves had made themselves quite comfortable. Wren had since joined the Seraph, and used her abilities as a field medic to assist in the villages surrounding Divinity’s Reach. Pania had joined the Durmond Priory, something she had hoped for since they had arrived in Tyria via the gateway between worlds from Minnesota.
On this particular day, Pania had left Lion’s Arch to make her way to the Priory, while Shani and Abisayo gathered supplies and goods to be taken back to Fort Salma.
Shani Wennemein and Abisayo Temi Lilu steered their horses down the road past Black Haven and their way back to Fort Salma from their weekly trip to Lion’s Arch. They rode lazily as they carried a few extra supplies, and talked about all the news and sights they’d seen.
“Haveta get back to that apple cart vendor again,” Abisayo said with a smile. “Best damn cider I had in a while.” Abisayo had began to acquire an accent that crossed Shani and Wren’s with Pania’s. If such a thing was at all possible.
“Thet charr sure were friendly,” Shani replied with a nod. “I bet ya he could sell ice boxes ta Norn up in the Shiverpeaks, the way he talks.” Shani pulled an apple from her coat and sliced off a piece with her dagger. “Didja catch thet shady character, one followin’ us ’round the market?”
“Yeah, I saw him,” Abisayo remarked. “He was tryin’ to stay back in the shadows, but always came to close. Probably mistook us for human, doesn’t know how well we elves can hear.”
“I figure he was from thet order,” Shani said as she bit into her apple. “Order o’ Whispers. Accordin’ ta Pania, it’s the oldest Order in Tyria. Granted it weren’t round in Ascalon when me an’ Panny was there oh so long ago, but they made their way up here, I suppose.”
“You don’t think that they’re spying on us?”
“Maybe their scoutin’ us,” Shani said with a chuckle. “Hell, why not. Pair o’ sophisticated an’ knowledgeable elves such as us, we fit right in with an organization dedicated ta secrets. Hell, we could probably tell ’em a thing ‘r two.”
“I thought the deal was to lay low,” Abisayo said with a grin. “Not flaunt our appearance in this world.” Abisayo’s face changed suddenly, from the jovial to the serious as she saw something across the bridge. “Small caravan,” she said. “Burning. Possibly bodies.”
Shani didn’t reply, she just tossed aside her apple and prodded Gippsum into a gallop. The two crossed the bridge and got a better view of the wreckage. It was a caravan alright. Three dolyak carcases smoldered in the grass as four bodies lay beside them. Empty chests and sacks lay strewn about the area. Abisayo was the first to realize just who the victims were.
“Charr,” she said aloud as she dismounted her horse. “Small warband?”
“Doubtful,” Shani said as she dropped to the ground from her horse. “Warbands don’t come this far west. Maybe a merchant caravan. I heard smaller charr merchant caravans go this far, do trade with humans on the outskirts o’ Kryta. Never thought they’d be this close ta Queensdale, though. Shani stopped a moment, motioning for Abisayo to remain quiet. “Ya hear thet?”
Abisayo concentrated and listened. Soon she could hear it as well. It sounded like the muffled cries of a baby. The two began to frantically search the remains of the caravan. They’d search through all the chests, overturned bags and began to inspect the bodies when Shani found it. She moved one of the charr females, rolling her body over. The charr’s eyes flickered and Shani realized she was just barely alive.
“Take… her…” the charr seemed to spit out. “Take … care of …her.” With those last words, the light faded from her eyes and she became still. But Shani saw what the charr spoke of. In her arms was a tiny cub, crying loudly. Shani realized the cub more than likely knew that her mother was dead. And she was frightened by the loud noises and the violent act. What her mother must have done to protect this cub, Shani could only imagine.
“Hey there,” Shani said in a quiet, soothing voice as she lifted the squirming cub up and into her arms. The cub reached back for his mother, but Shani spoke to her. “I’m sorry, baby. Yer mama’s dead.” She looked to Abisayo and motioned to the supplies. “We picked up milk fer bakin’, right?”
“Should be in the cooler we picked up,” Abisayo said as she search through the packs on the horses.
“Fill up a bottle ‘re somethin’,” Shani said as she tried to keep the cub calm in her arms. “Hey now, little baby. Everything’s gonna be alright. We ain’t gonna let whoever done this hurt y’all too.” It was difficult, the cub was scared, wanted her mother, didn’t know the smells that were around her, was held by strange arms.
Abisayo came over to Shani with the milk bottle and shook it in front of the cub. “Maybe baby’s hungry,” she said softly. The cub stopped as she heard the shake of the bottle, and began reaching out for it. Shani smiled and took the bottle complete with a makeshift nipple that Abisayo had cobbled together. The charr cub immediately began sucking from the bottle, drinking as much as she could.
“Oh, I’d say she were hungry alright,” Shani said as she sat back against a tree. “Should get someone from Black Haven. There’s a coupla Lion Guard posted there, along with a coupla Seraph. Get word ta Wren.” Abisayo nodded her head and made her way to the bridge that would take her to Black Haven.
Shani felt the charr cub squirm again, then cough as she pushed the bottle away. She began to wimper slightly. “Hey now, lil baby. Everything’s fine. Just rest fer a bit, calm yerself.” Shani had zero experience with children, elven or charr. But she remembered things her mother had done to help keep her younger sister Wren calm. “Hey little baby, listen ta my voice, okay.” It seemed to work, each time Shani spoke, the cub would turn her big, bright eyes to look at Shani. And Shani realized something. If she sang, she could probably keep the cub’s attention focused on her voice. “Go ta sleep ya little baby, Go ta sleep ya little baby, Yer mama’s gone away an’ yer daddy’s gone tp stay, didn’t leave nobody but the baby…”