Echoes of Invasion: Great Performances | Scene 8

The elves make their way through South Tower interested in finding the House of Light, where they assume magical healing is done based on what Gwaffalyn said. Hepalonia hopes to compare elvish magic with human magic there. Her cousin suggests she introduce herself as an emissary from Estbryn Forest and say that she is looking for a mutual exchange of ideas.

They ask a passerby for directions since there is nothing shady at all about the House of Light, and the helpful person tells them which way to go. It turns out to be easy to locate because the building is actually adjacent to Earl Gweddry’s tower, which is visible from any part of the city. Standing outside the two structures, Heppa remembers the fencer saying that the earl’s scholar likely has a collection of books, but she is not sure how to gain access to them without some sort of introduction. It would not be polite for someone to just barge into her own house uninvited and ask to see her father’s scrolls.

The House of Light, however, seems to be set up specifically for people to just walk in and ask questions. The whitewashed exterior walls practically glow in reflected sunlight. On each side of the wide open door is a lit brazier even though it is only afternoon, a frivolous affectation in Tric’s opinion. Above the door is carved a swirling pattern with a blue crystal mounted in the center. The inside of the building is an unexpected cross between a shop and a waiting room. Chairs line the walls, and behind a counter stands a teenage human in hooded brown robes with a white stole.

“Welcome to the House of Light! Are you injured? Are you sick?” Then the youth really focuses on the newcomers and stands up a bit straighter, startled. “Oh! Elves! Welcome, welcome!”

Heppa glances to her cousin, but he is looking around the room with a bemused expression. She steps up to the counter. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for your kind welcome,” she says courteously. “I am curious about your magics and how they may be similar to or differ from elvish ways. Is there somebody who would be willing to speak with me?”

The question seems to vary too far from what the youth has been trained to expect. “Uh… um, unfortunately, I must staff the counter here… but I can see whether Rhaessa is available to consult with you. She is our white mage here.”

“Is that an acceptable request?” Heppa asks. “I apologize; I am not clear on your customs.”

“Um, I’ll tell you, it’s not everyday somebody comes in asking these questions,” the clerk replies hesitantly, “so I’ll defer to Rhaessa. Please wait here one moment.” The youth scurries through a swinging door, and Heppa hears nervous rambling through it. “There’s some elves up front with questions… They’re not injured, either. I’m not making this up!”

The door pushes open back into the atrium, and a human woman in white robes follows the apprentice through it. She has straight dirty-blonde hair with tan skin, and the hood on her shoulder cape hangs down her back. In her left hand she carries a staff topped by a cross bar above which sits the same swirling pattern with a blue crystal that the elves saw outside. “Welcome to the House of Light. I am Rhaessa. I understand you have some questions about our work here?”

“Oh, yes, thank you. I am Hepalonia from Estbryn Forest, and I am curious about your human magic!” Heppa says eagerly.

Rhaessa barely has time to register this before a group of people burst into the room, helping along a man with gashes across his hands. The white mage rushes to the newcomers with a quick murmured apology to Heppa. For a brief, hopeful moment, Hepalonia thinks she might get a chance to observe human healing magics at work, but Rhaessa quickly guides the patient through to the back room. His companions stay in the waiting area. The apprentice at the counter asks them what happened to their friend. “Some fool he is. Was juggling a knife, cut his own hands. Don’t know where he got that fool idea.”

The elves take their leave as this no longer seems a good time to ask more questions.