The next morning the threesome set out to the difficult task of purchasing some suitable clothes for Selira. The chore wouldn’t have been quite so hard if Selira’s views of suitable clothing had been nearer to that of the elf lords’.
After turning down most of their attempts, the elves left Selira to her own devices and let her choose. Obviously, she had her own sense of fashion and nothing the elves could say would change the headstrong child’s mind.
Finally, Selira chose two simple, long sleeved dresses. One was a deep violet, the other pale blue. She also chose two pairs of men’s leather breaches. Even the smallest size did not fit her slim figure sufficiently, and were extremely baggy. The elves purchased her a pair of black boots, a leather belt, gloves, and cloak as well.
Through her quick-handed if not pristine thievery, the girl had managed to save up a tidy sum of money. This she promptly spent on a very different looking, very beautiful white dress. She’d admired it from afar many a day and she’d find some sort of occasion to wear it, she assumed.
Their shopping finally finished, the group returned to the inn where, after requesting a pair of scissors, Selira sheered nearly two-and-a-half feet off the bottom of the dresses Legolas and Telden bought. She changed into a pair of the baggy breeches and the newly shorn purple dress. On the whole, the outfit looked rather similar to an overly beautiful tunic, and too baggy pants.
Legolas thought she looked like a young child playing dress-up with her parents’ clothes, but he didn’t mention this to Selira. Telden deemed the outfit suitable for travel and the group prepared to leave.
Just as they were leaving the inn, a distraught woman rushed into the common room. The lady could not be calmed by guests of the inn nor the inn keeper himself. She ranted loudly of a huge company of orcs camped near the edge of the forest.
“Yes, hundreds! More even. And they were taking prisoners too. There were at least twenty! I only narrowly escaped…”
Telden and Legolas were extremely disgruntled as this would hinder their departure. The elf lords remained in sour spirits, and it was Selira that first suggested looking into the incident.
“Why should we not look into her story?” She asked with curiosity. Legolas sighed.
“If there were more in our group I would suggest it, but as there’s only the three of us I don’t think it wise. Telden and I are not equipped for battling orcs. We only came to deliver a message.”
“But we have something they don’t.” Selira pointed out, a mischievous smile playing across her face.
“If you mean Telden’s ring–“Legolas began, but Telden finished for him.
“–I think it a brilliant idea. And for such an attempt I think you will see we are well equipped, Legolas.”
The elven prince gave an aggravated sigh. “And I’m assuming you’re going to tell us why we are so well prepared and why I must be the one to go any moment now, right?”
Telden laughed softly, and led his companions outside before telling them his plans.
“As I said earlier, we are quite prepared.” The raven-haired elf reiterated, reaching into his pocket and drawing out two similar-looking rings.
Legolas smiled. “Ah, I remember these rings well. And I also happen to know their uses, which makes an improvement. When am I to go?”
“I never meant you to go, my friend. I thought it’d be best if Selira went. She is a thief, after all.”
Selira squealed happily, her grey-green eyes flashing with laughter. Legolas thought that she had somehow known of Telden’s plans all along. He shook his head, exasperated, as Telden handed Selira one of his rings.
“I made this set of rings long ago, though not as long ago as yours. When we wear the rings at the same time, you will be able to send me messages through your thoughts. I will not be able to hear all of your thoughts, mind you. Just the ones you send me.”
Selira turned the ring over in her hands. It was very large, and fit loosely on her thumb. “I’ll never be able to keep this ring on!”
Legolas grinned. “You’ll find that one of the best reasons to carry a magic ring is the fact that they adjust to your finger on their own.” Even as he said this, the ring shrunk around Selira’s thumb and she had to pull it off before it became stuck. She put it onto her middle finger.
“Listen and see if you can hear me.” Said Telden. Selira nodded and shut her eyes.
Can you hear this?
Yes, I can. Can you hear me?
I can. You can open your eyes now, you know.
Selira opened her eyes and beamed at the two elf lords. “I suppose you want me to go now?” she said with a flourish.
“Wait. Don’t forget this.” Telden handed her the little moonstone ring. “Now you can go.”
* * *
Selira quietly slid through the trees and sidled up next to the orc camp. The huge company turned out to be a group of five orcs, and the prisoners were really just one. The dark-headed girl pulled the moonstone ring onto her finger. She held her hands in front of her as she did this; she would never tire of seeing her body’s colors melt away.
Selira snuck around to where the lone captive was tied to a tree. When she was certain the orcs weren’t looking, off came the ring. The captive jumped and Selira clapped a hand over his mouth.
“Selira?” he asked when she removed her hand.” What are you doing here?”
“Silence, Dallon.” She cautioned. “Do not let them hear us.” Like Selira, the captive had ebony-colored hair. His eyes were brown and he was very tall. He watched with interest as Selira drew out a knife and proceeded to cut his bonds.
“I thought you did not carry weapons,” Dallon taunted as she cut the ropes around his feet.
“I have changed since we last met. Besides, I could always just leave you here.” That successfully shut him up, and Selira shoved the knife back into her belt, thankful Legolas had insisted she be armed before she left.
“Don’t make a sound,” murmured Selira. She pressed a finger against his lips and slipped the ring on again.
“Mmph!” was the sound Dallon tried make when Selira clapped her hand on his mouth, however, he found himself tongue-tied. His form melted out of vision just after his thief companion’s, and Selira grabbed his hand and led him back towards the city’s edge.
I’ve freed the prisoner. We’re coming back, she thought.
We will be waiting for you, was Telden’s reply.