Rey remembered days where she spent in the work house when she was little. Barely old enough to work was good enough for Plutt, and she remembered how tired and exhausted she was at the end of the day. How she would nearly nod over her food before bed. Then there were the constables that came in and dragged Plutt away for what he was doing. Then she and the others were gathered up, and then dropped unceremoniously into a home for children in the thick countryside. She would much rather be at the work house then where she was now she thought. Rose elbowed her as Rey tried to walk 'daintily' towards a small table for refreshments.
"Don't you think this is amazing?" Rose whispered. Rey frowned towards Rose. Oh Rey had heard of 'masked' balls, but she always thought they were all just tales. Right now she was in one. Rose was wearing one cat like one with little wire whiskers coming out. Rey had a bird one that had black feathers, coming out to help cover her dirt brown hair. It's beak went down to cover most of her face and she was somewhat glad for it. She shook her head and finally reached the table grabbing a tiny dainty sandwich about the size of a large coin. She grimaced, it was no where near satisfying.
Rose moved off to further explore the party they had been dumped in. Finn, Rose and Rey all were orphans, and all were under the care of Hollow Hill estates. At the moment they were in a party that the estate was throwing in the 'lodge' house. It must have once been a strange little house, the first floor had all been ripped open so that it was an entire ball floor. The floors were of polished white wood that hurt to look at in the 'new' electric wiring. New because she caught several whispering about it. That struck her as odd, when she lived in London everything was electric.
Rey grabbed another tiny sandwich and sighed in frustration when she could and did swallow the entire thing whole. "Not to your liking?" a smooth voice asked her. Rey flinched away from the figure and glared for a moment before giving him her best, or worst, curtsy.
"No sir." she said politely. They had all been drilled on POLIET. She examined the man, he was wearing black and red, along with a fox mask. It's colors blended into his bright copper colored hair and his bright green eyes danced from behind the mask. Lingering on her and nothing else. Rey wanted to squirm, she didn't want to be anything else then a nobody, it was what she always had been and anything else felt like it wasn't her anymore. He offered his hand out to her in a smooth motion bowing towards her.
"Would you like to dance?" he asked. His voice was a strange tone, pleading, yet commanding her. Rey felt like she wanted to obey but stepped back away from him. His eyes darted back up to hers pupils going wide. She had the uncanny feeling like this was exactly something she shouldn't have done. Finn laughed, cutting between her and the man, giving Rey a moment to flee. She took it, running for the door to the outside where more revelers were spilling out. Someone called to her, Rose she thought, but she headed out and away from the majority of people.
It wasn't long before she was in the ill kempt forest and walking away. "Do you want to dance?" she mocked with a sudden outburst. "No I do not you pompus dolt!" she explained to herself. She headed up a small hill towards a stand of trees in a circle blindly. It felt like it was drawing her in and she needed to be there as soon as possible. "I don't want to be here, and I would rather be," she ranted, weaving between the massive trunks. "Taking care of my birds." she finally came out into a circle. The stand of oak trees in a circle created a circle, with clear grass turf in the middle. It felt safe here, and she settled down walking to the middle to look up at the darkening skies. "I don't even know WHY I am here." she whined.
"To be a bride." said a deep voice. Rey started eyes dancing around for the voice. Whoever it was stepped out, barely visible in the quickly falling night. She knew he was wearing a set of black clothes, and maybe of all things a long cloak with a hood. But otherwise she could not see him as he stood by one of the oak trees. He was tall as she looked him over, and his stance, slightly hunched over, promised even more height if he straightened himself up.
"A bride?" Rey replied after a moment. Her heart calmed itself, the first starts started to show through the navy skies.
"Yes." he stated simply. Rey sighed towards him.
"You could explain, that is what I mean." she demanded.
"It would be a month long party in a way," he replied a sardonic tone of voice. "They always love their parties." he leaned back to one of the trees and she snorted. "So who are you?"
"Rey. And You?" she questioned. Part of her decided to be wary of the man, no matter how friendly he may show to be.
"Marak Wren." he replied quickly. Her eyebrow rose at the strange name, however she heard a fast set of feet heading towards her. She dashed towards his side to hide in the shadows by him. "Hiding?" he asked. Rey opened and closed her mouth.
"Maybe," she answered watching the other side of the circle. The fox masked man came out into the other end as the last of the sky darkened completely leaving the world into darkness.
"Pleasure to see you again Taige." Wren stated flatly as the moon lights finally lit up the area.
"Wren, what are you doing out of that hole?" 'Taige' replied. Rey stared between the two, obviously they had a history.
"I do as I please on MY lands." Wren replied, a dark emphasis on my. They looked like they were about to do more, however both seemed to realize that she was there and paused a moment. She had the uncanny feeling of being a peahen against two peacocks. "Rey, you should get back to your people." Wren told her. Rey blinked towards him.
"Why would that be Wren? Is she not safe around you?" Taige's voice was full of venomous amusement.
"I can say the same for you." Wren stated simply. Taige went silent. Rey watched the exchange more curious then wary.
"What is this about?" she demanded. The two turned back to her and then back to each other.
"Posturing," Wren stated before Taige could speak. "A manly thing you know." Rey smiled towards him as Taige grimaced stepping away from the two of them. "We know each other too well." she nodded, he held out a hand towards her. It was gloved in black leather. She felt for a moment it wouldn't look human, however it was as human as her own hand was. Her stomach growled then, and she flushed in embarrassment.
"Sorry," she replied lamely.
"Would you like to get something more," he turned to Taige and she could hear the smile in his voice. "Substantial?" Rey hesitated a moment before taking his hand.
"No girl, you want to come back with me." Taige pleaded towards her. She frowned and shook off the tone, allowing Wren to take her out away from the tree ring. Her heart thudded a bit in fear when she left them, heading into the night. Rey could see very well in the dark, it was one thing that kept her alive back in the work house. When she would steal away on the least exhausting nights to steal food from Plutt's stores. Taige let them leave without trying to follow them. He headed towards a faint light away, a bonfire. He was mostly silent by her as she tried to see into his cloak, but he was careful, never allowing his face beyond the shadows of cloth. His walk was even more curious, she had the resemblance of a powerful sort of walk that reminded her of the large birds at the zoo.
At the bonfire was a group of people, Rey blinked at them all feeling even more wary. Several of them were covered like Wren, others were like the few dwarfs she had seen. But quite also unlike them as well. These people were just like a normal person just shrunk down, almost like children, but more proportioned. They were roasting slices of beef on the crackling fire and the smell was heavenly on her senses. Rey let go of Wren's hand to go towards them as they smiled towards her.
"Oh dear you must be hungry!" cried one tiny lady. Barely up to Rey's waist she was old, heavily wrinkled and bald. Without even eyebrows or eye lashes at that. She wore thick goggle like glasses that made her blue eyes all the more larger then they were. Rey's stomach decided her on whether or not she'd be wary, she wasn't, as the old woman drew her further towards the fire. Handing her a thick plate meant for picnics the old woman threw down a slice of beef, and then from a pot off the side scooped up new potatoes.
"Yes, thank you so much!" Rey took the plate from her digging in without waiting for a fork. They seemed highly amused at that Wren stood by taking one of the slabs for himself and eating it hunched over without ever exposing himself.
"Now Wren you didn't just take her from the party without a by your leave did you?" the old woman asked as Rey began to tear into the beef. It was perfectly medium rare, leaving her to lick up her hands and fingers as its juices ran down them. She was mortified for a moment as they all looked to her and stalled herself for a moment.
"No Maz, she came by herself." Wren replied. "Though Taige had tried to keep her to himself."
"What was that about?" Rey demanded. They turned to her and she flushed in embarrassment.
"A bit of a old feud between them. Its been that way for a long time." Maz told her. Rey blinked at this, and ate a bit more. "You came from the party correct?" Rey nodded.
"Yes, I never wanted to go anyways. I have things to do." Rey answered honestly. She gave a slight huff and finally took off the mask setting it aside. She could feel Wren's stare on her then again but refused to look at him. No she wasn't a beauty Rey would never want to be as such. Maybe he thought she would be beautiful, but she ate the last of the beef feeling full finally.
"What sort of things if I may ask?" Maz asked. Rey smiled.
"I take care of birds! I have a parrot, it got loose from the zoo, and I caught the clever thing. I taught him how to speak poetry!" Rey told her excitedly. Maz nodded on eagerly. "I named him BeeBee."
"Birds are nice." Wren stated flatly, his tone filled with a bit of lingering wonder. "I like them as well." Rey turned to him.
"Oh yes! They are wonderful aren't they dear?" Maz interrupted before Rey could speak. "Now what should I call you? You heard Wren state my name yes? It's Maz I helped to nurse him!" Rey blinked at the woman.
"I'm Rey, I... don't really have any other name to me." Maz nodded sympathetically.
"You don't need many names, just one." Wren stated. "That's all the matters isn't it?" she turned to him, feeling an odd sense of flattery. "Rey is a wonderful name."
"Oh... thank you?" Rey bit her lip. "Should I be getting back to the, estate house?" she asked them. They stalled for a moment, but Wren nodded, finishing up his slice of beef.
"Yes, I can take you." Rey sighed in relief. "I don't suppose you'd care to meet me tomorrow?" he asked her after she stood, Maz taking the plate. Rey fingered her mask unsurely.
"You can, I... might look forwards to it." she told him hesitantly. She could feel him smile again at her as he slowly edged away from the bonfire. For a long while he was silent as if deep in thought as he led her into the woods towards the estate house. "Can I ask WHY Taige… behaved that way?" Rey wondered towards him.
"What do you mean?" Wren asked her.
"I mean the way he talked, like he wanted me to do something, but I didn't want to do it. It felt strange, like he was drawing me away." She explained. Wren shrugged and she heard the ruffling of feathers. She took a quick glance around but there were no birds around.
"Yes, I saw, you resisted without a thought. It means something to him, he gets his way and I believe you drew his eye because of not following his orders." Wren told her, she made a face. They were just drawing up along the path to the estate house and she blinked. It seemed to take no time at all, the route that they took on a small cart wound around 'hollow hill' taking an hour by a small trudging car. But it took no time at all to walk there cutting through the forest.
"Thank you!" Rey told him and took his proffered hand. She tried another curtsey, and he bowed in half, that same ruffling feather sound coming with the moment.
"Yes, till tomorrow then just Rey." she smiled, and took her hand back. Feeling again flattery. She didn't even realize he hadn't really answered her question until she got back to Beebee.
"To draw you to me! To plant on you the first time lips!" Beebee called to her as she got into her room. He was a large bird and free to roam her room, he was smart enough, usually, to leave his droppings in one place however as he flapped at her. "FIRST TIME LIPS!" Beebee called to her. Rey sighed, and giggled tiredly.
"Alright Beebee." she told him and went to him, kissing his beak. "There, kisses!" she grinned to him as he cooed towards her. Rey stripped herself out of the dress she wore, a plain black dress she didn't care for, and then dropped into her bed. Beebee recited something towards her as she closed her eyes. Rey lived in a room on the ground floor that faced the forest, staring out into it she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Wren slowly tapped the set of doors into the estate house and the large parrot bird turned to him with its beady eyes as the doors opened. He didn't go inside the room just yet, though he could. Instead he focused on the girl now asleep in the bed. Did he dare break the truce, or did he wait and hope? Wren's blood called him to just take the girl, she'd be ideal wouldn't she? His father had taken his mother on the first night, but he was curious. She deftly avoided the spell of persuasion Taige had tried to make on her. She obviously had elf blood in her, and that in itself drew Taige, and Wren himself to her. "To escape utterly from others!" the parrot told him and he flicked his gaze to it. "Anchors and holds!" it said a moment later. It was intelligent, he could sense.
"Would you watch over her?" he called to it. The bird examined him, its beady eye looking at him.
"I am watching her." the parrot said clearly. Wren nodded to it. "Protect her?" he asked.
"Taige is a sore looser, I'll keep watch as long as I can, but he'll likely come calling to her." the bird flapped its wings and snapped its large beak.
"Not for long!" he stated proudly. "Rey mine! Rey good!" Wren smiled under his hood.
"I'll see you later then, Beebee it was?" Beebee puffed up proudly at being known. "Good to meet you good knight." he closed the doors with a soft click leaving Rey to sleep off the exhaustion. He did do a bit of magic to get them to the estate house quicker and such a thing would exhaust everyone. Its how the elves traveled often, how they scattered about and then came back towards Hollow Hill. It was odd in a way using elven magic instead of good goblin or dwarf magic. But he was back underground in no time at all. His people, at least the more human looking ones, were talking about the few that they had seen in the party. Maz was by his side as he undid his confining clothes finally.
Marak Wren was the king of goblins, he straightened himself as much as possible as he passed by his people. They stopped to bow their heads to him, Maz carefully folded up the cloak looking up at him. "did she draw your eye?" Maz asked.
"Yes, it might be a fight with Taige, so we will have to play this carefully." he answered. Maz shook her head.
"That man, he might only want her now that you want her." Maz replied. Wren settled into the chamber where a small set of dwarves waited for a new thing to build. It was hard to say where, but he decided on going lower, to create a larger network of tunnels. Even ones of escape should the humans start to destroy hollow hill. Wren towered over them, just as he towered over everyone of his race. Elf pretty, they said, elf tall they said. Wren shrugged off these comments, he was king, and therefor they were good as anything. His stance was more due to his body then choosing. Wren's legs at the knee's down were bird like, covered now by well tailored boots to his fitting. His tailbone jutted out with a set of feathers that when he had no time to clip would trail on the ground. His hands were like talons as well, but more human like ending in sharp points. From his back was a set of wings, as a bat and bird fused, they uncurled from his shoulders stretching out. He was colored mostly in a sort of tannish brown for the tail feathers, but his wings were a bright blue and black. Its why he was called Wren, for he looked like a 'fairy wren' to his mother.
He felt nervous yes, after all he was choosing a bride just as Taige was, among others, but they both had an eye on the same girl. He comforted himself a the lack of comfort she showed Taige, and instead seemed to gravitate towards him. It was possible she could be part goblin, though that was rare indeed for an apparent human girl. She looked divine to him, with her earthly brown hair, and freckles on her cheeks. His blood called again to him to just go back out and take her, but if he did he could break the Truce that was set up between the Elves and goblins. He did feel like he could care less, but sighed. He couldn't do it, it was for the better, on occasion they would send a woman to the goblins, but the two kings were the same age. So they were seeking a bride at the same time. Taige had decided on a party, to bring forth people from all around, oh he had the pick of women of his own kind, but the two kings had decided to marry outside. Goblins because that was always the way it was done, and now the Elves for either side's women never bore well. So a human, or mostly human woman, and both of them would be fighting over her.
He knew Taige well enough that he would do his best on the girl, and he would have to do so himself. His best. Wren sighed, courting. Such a shame that he couldn't just spirit her away like his ancestors did. No, he had to COURT her, and by the end of the month she'd choose. If he didn't find another, or she chose someone else then he could spirit anything away at his choosing. The thought was tempting in a way, never going back, letting Taige try to woo her. Then spiriting her out and away to his kingdom before Taige could bind her to himself. "Phaz!" he called, said goblin, taller then him, and almost similar to him in a way. However she had shiny fur all over her, and was built more like a bear then a bird like him.
"Yes sir?" she called.
"We will need to renew some of the defenses. Taige and I have the same one in mind. I'd like you to start reminding everyone why we remain at the alert at all times. Should he try anything when I take her." she nodded into a bow. Turning she began to bark orders towards the guards they rushed to comply with her. Wren settled into his kingdom and its spells that kept everything flowing, from the lights, to various spells to keep it hidden from human eyes.