Echoes of Invasion: Downtime in Dan’Tonk | Scene 4

A disturbance at the entrance of the glass shop draws everyone’s attention. “Roshanak! Roshanak! Is it true?” a young child no older than Gumreddoc’s granddaughter Myfi calls excitedly from the curtain. “Are you going to talk at Dune School tomorrow?”

The glassworker holds her palm straight out, and the child stops before barrelling further into the shop. “Yes, yes,” she replies calmly. “I will speak tomorrow. I will bring my demonstration equipment. And I will expect the proper respect and attention as deserves a Luminary.”

The child’s demeanor shifts, and with a murmured, “Yes, yes,” the young girl bows backward out of the shop. Once in the street, she resumes enthusiastic running.

“There’s a school?” Heppa asks. Other than Alduin, she has never heard of any such thing among humans.

“Once a week the children are gathered to be taught important things for them to know,” Roshanak explains.

“Like glassworking?”

Roshanak shakes her head. “It is not a trade school. It is more cultural education, so that they can retain some of the knowledge and traditions of their ancestors.”

“That sounds amazing,” Heppa says. Although she has never stuck out formal elvish education for long periods of time—not like Lala has—she loves opportunities to learn new things.

Roshanak fetches a magnifying glass, and Heppa tries it out. “I do actually do a lot of inspecting things we might find in the forest, especially with my alchemy. Also with the small writing.” Unthinkingly, she continues, “I can augment a little with magic—Oh! I’m sorry if that’s sensitive.” Alric told her never to apologize for who she is, but there is no need to be outright offensive to these older Dunefolk sorts. They do not always like magic and they can get grumpy. Or maybe it’s just Damal?

“No need to apologize for your elvish ways,” Roshanak says. “Would you like to purchase this?”

Twenty-five coins does not seem too much to Heppa, so she happily hands over payment for the magnifier. There is probably a suitably sized pocket for it in the alchemist vest that Alric gave her.

“Ah, and you mentioned alchemy. You might want to visit Zhafa’s shop as well. She is our local apothecary,” Roshanak suggests. Heppa asks for a recommendation for spices and is pointed to that same shop. “Zhafa’s shop will have spices. Probably anything—well, I don’t know how elves spice their dishes, but anything that a human would want can be found at Zhafa’s.” With this purchase done, Roshanak turns her attention to the other customer. “And what about you, young man? Do you require anything?”

Still standing by the large wall mirror, Tric points to it and asks, “Do you have a smaller version of this? Something more compact that you could close and store safely?” The mirror seems like an interesting thing that might come in handy, but he certainly does not want anything unwieldy. If nothing else, I can use it to annoy Mate, he schemes.

“I wonder if that’s how the ceiling device at the Parting Glass concentrates light on the stage,” Heppa murmurs.

Roshanak does not stock anything exactly like what Tric has described, but she can produce one to be ready on the morrow. “I have small mirrors, but I will need to consult with the local metalworker for an appropriate hinge. Felt should do fine to protect the mirror’s surface. I must teach the children in the morning, so if you can come back in the afternoon, it will be ready then.” 

Tric happily hands over twenty coins. “Or we could meet you at the lesson. But, well, we don’t want to be disruptive…”

“Could we watch?” Heppa asks excitedly.

Roshanak looks at Tric very closely, eyes narrowing slightly behind the lenses of her spectacles. Suspecting what is going through her mind, he volunteers, “My mother was a Manu, but I didn’t grow up with her, so I’m not so familiar with the culture. It might be interesting.”

“Your mother was a Manu? I am a Manu myself,” Roshanak says.

More relatives of Tric’s, all the way out here! Heppa marvels.

“Ah, I didn’t know that. I’m Mhaev’s son.”

“Oh, you are Mhaev’s little boy!”

“Not as little, but yes.”

“Yes, indeed. You have grown quite a bit since last I saw you.”

“I imagine it was many years ago. And an elvish diet is very healthy,” Tric says.

“Indeed. I am a member of your mother’s clan. I also lived in Hisanham for several years. I recall your early days.”

“I’m sure I did nothing untoward during those times,” Tric says.

“What was Tric like?” Heppa asks eagerly.

“Hungry, I’m guessing?” Tric suggests. Eating seems to be what most babies care about.

“A little—and I mean no offense—a little slow compared to other children,” Roshanak shares.

“That makes sense,” Heppa says, nodding to herself. “If elves grow a little more slowly, your development might just have been a little slower. But I wonder if it was faster than…” She drifts off in thought, considering how the young of other species might grow.

Roshanak tells Tric which building she will be speaking at and what time to be there in the morning. “You are certainly welcome to observe. Provided that you do not disrupt the children’s education.”

“I hope we are not a distraction for them,” Tric says.

“My lessons tend to be more popular than those of some of the other Luminaries, I will admit. A little more flashy, if you will.” That just makes it sound more interesting to Tric, and Heppa shares that he is a storyteller. “Have you any news of other Dunefolk that you would like to share tomorrow?” Roshanak asks. “We can also make time for you to speak with the children.”

“I don’t know if you ever met my younger sister, Dame Terwaen?” Roshanak admits that she did not know Mhaev had another child. “It was later after the war,” Tric explains. Roshanak encourages him to share any exploits he knows of this Dame Terwaen. “I can relate her astounding performance at a recent tournament. She won Most Honorable.”

“And we met Serces and Damal,” Heppa adds.

“You could tell a story about Alric,” Tric teases her, though some of his activities are probably best left unpublicized.

“Maybe the falcons?” Heppa suggests.

“You have an interest in falcons?” Roshanak asks.

“I learned a little bit from Alric. He is Lonfar and Osian’s son.” It comes out sounding more like a question, and Roshanak assures Heppa that she does know Lonfar. They both lived in Hisanham. She has never met Osian or Alric, though, since many of the Manu separated after the retreat from Hisanham. “Anyway, Alric told me a little about falcons,” Heppa explains, “but I wouldn’t say it’s my specialty.”

“So probably Sazid knows more than you do.”

“Oh, definitely,” Heppa agrees. That exhausts her areas of Dunefolk experience, other than Lonfar’s rice dish, which surely some of the people here already know how to make. The only other knowledge she could share would be geographical, magical, or medical, but none of those would be relevant in a cultural education setting.