Echoes of Invasion: Staff Infection | Scene 6

The next day at breakfast, things are apparently normal in House Thrandolil. Heppa tells her father that Tric will be bringing the staff by today. She had tried to get him to bring it the previous day, but he was too worn out after family revelations and fishing to deliver it. She had thought the staff might help make up for however upset her father was, but everything was eerily normal at dinner time. That was fine with Heppa; conflict avoidance is her preference.

As they eat breakfast, Heppa’s family members make idle conversations about recent activities and upcoming plans. Heppa had a relaxed afternoon the previous day, and she relates some of it—minus Anador details. She and Mate learned to fish with poles, though the magpie was more interested in eating the bait itself. Heppa also took advantage of the opportunity to tell Uncle Nasir about some of the very impressive things Tric did on their travels, such as performing as a storyteller.

Heppa asks her father about the package from Lady Sabine, and he tells her it contained a broach and a pleasant letter from the archmage telling him a little bit about some of the things she has collected. She included ideas on what the broach might do and its possible provenance. It is clearly of elvish design, so Thrandolil will be doing some research and seeing what he can find in his papers related to who might have crafted it and at what point. He has not attempted to activate the broach, so Heppa volunteers to try it. Thrandolil invites her to come by his library later for that, though he does point out they need to be careful with it, since it is Lady Sabine’s. He encourages Heppa to show him the ring she brought back, not realizing it also is technically Lady Sabine’s. Heppa volunteers to return the broach to Lady Sabine whenever it needs to go back. Any excuse to return to South Tower is a good one for her.

“Did you find human settlements so interesting?” Thrandolil asks.

“Oh, yes! We made a few friends, and there were just so many things to explore. There was an alchemy shop, and I learned a bit about that. I got inks for my map there.” Heppa prattles on a bit more, and Quaemilya joins the conversation, asking how human apothecary supplies compare to elvish ones. Heppa brightens at the attention from her older sister and offers to show her kit to Lala. They leave breakfast together and spend the morning in Heppa’s room talking shop, a novel experience for Heppa.

Quaemilya, like many elves of Estbryn Forest, is not well traveled. She knows little of humans and wonders if they use many natural ingredients like elves do. Heppa shares that the alchemist she talked to was insistent that magic was not natural and does everything he can to solve problems without it. When Heppa takes out her vest to show off some of the components, Quaemilya is surprised that the materials are arranged as part of a piece of clothing. Here in their village, apothecary supplies are stored on shelves in a hut. Heppa explains how much bigger the human settlement is than the elvish village. The vest would be very useful for making house calls, since Damal handles healing as well as other services.

This segues into talking about the white mage Heppa met and how the human healing magic produces a strange light. Quamilya knows nothing about human magic and has no idea where the light would come from. She is not disdainful toward human magic, it just is not relevant to her. She sees nothing to be gained from learning about the topic, not when they have access to elvish magic. Heppa describes to her sister the different magical experience of using the runes, telling her about how she tried to cast brambles with the ring and it actually affected stones instead.

Heppa is so excited to spend all morning with Lala. Seldom does she have her big sister’s attention, let alone her interest in things that matter to Heppa. Afraid of ruining a good moment, she steers clear of the topic of their mystery uncle. When runic artifacts prove of little interest to Lala, Heppa happily resumes going on about what she has learned of alchemy from the humans. One thing she relates is a story Alric told her about setting off silver salts when he was an apprentice. Though she is not trying to advertise how much she likes him, she does mention Alric numerous times. Her vest of supplies used to be his, after all.

Quaemilya notices that Hepalonia blushes a little bit when she mentions this “friend” Alric, who she has indicated is part of the Manu clan. Quaemilya does not say anything to her sister about this, but she privately wonders if this is going to cause problems. Just yesterday, Heppa brought up their uncle who had an affair with a Manu. Even if Mother has convinced Heppa not to mention Anador anymore, if Heppa starts talking about her Manu crush to Father, it may stir up things best left untouched. It does not sound like things are too serious between Heppa and this Alric fellow, but the echoes of the past are there. This development bears careful consideration.