I rested my hands on the short wall lining the balcony attached to my bedroom. As the wind ruffled my hair, I closed my eyes. My ears picked up the sound of horses on the ground below, and the wind rustling the nearby forest’s leaves. My eyes opened again and I watched the small herd wander around their pasture. The day was like any other, not much planned and yet things still needed to be done. I frowned when an unfamiliar sound reached my ears. I looked around and my gaze ended up towards the sky.
The….thing was too large to be a phantom or parrot, and I didn’t recognize the design. The flying, or rather crashing, object was mostly white with some red accents. It headed west, plummeting towards the ground.
My frown deepened and I turned away. My grey-blue dress swished as I walked down the hall. I kept an eye on the southern facing windows as I walked, smoke followed the object’s route to the ground.
I made it to the hall next to the staircase when I met my head-maid, a middle-aged woman with brown hair that was almost always pulled into a tight bun.
“Delia.” I nodded to her. “Did you see the sky?”
She nodded. “Yes, my lady. It fell in the direction of the village.”
I glanced out the nearest window, which faced west and thus the path to the village. “Correct.” I turned towards her. “Find Mary and keep an eye on the path. If anything or anyone was in that… object, there is a chance it or they will come here. And if they do…”
Delia gives a small smile. “Mary will come to find you. I know the routine, my lady.”
I narrowed my eyes at her playfully. “Careful, Delia. Your statement almost sounds like it has an ounce of sass.”
Delia lets out a small chuckle. “Perhaps it did, my lady.” She straightens and turns her face into a neutral mask. “Where would Mary find you?”
I held back a sigh. “I shall be in my potion room.”
Delia nods to me and takes her leave, making her way down the staircase.
I spare another glance out the window, then shake my head in disbelief and continue down the hall.
Once in my potion room, I make my way to the lectern and flip through the pages. I mutter to myself as I collect water bottles, nether warts and glistering melons. I set the supplies next to the brewing stand. Minutes fly past as I continue to make healing potions. I add glowstone dust for strength and redstone dust for the affects to last longer.
I turned to see Mary standing in the arched doorway. “Who has come to the mansion?”
“Eleven people, ten are human and one is...I’m not sure what they are. Miss Delia sent me to get you as the group emerged from the forest on the path to the village.”
I frown and wipe my hands on a nearby piece of wool. “I’ll go see what they want. Please keep an eye on these potions, once they are done just put them in the large chest near the lectern.”
She nodded and I walked back down the hallway towards the front of the mansion. I paused above the stairway and looked down out of the window. The group of people were in the front yard, with Delia in between them and the doorway to the mansion.
I swallow in anticipation and dread, turn and go down the first few steps then turn again and descend to the small landing at the top of the staircase leading the rest of the way downstairs.
From there, I could see the front of the group and the back of Delia. The bearded man who was speaking with Delia looked over her shoulder and met my gaze. Delia followed his gaze and nodded to me. The white clad men behind him, the ones who held their helms under their arms, openly stared at me.
I steadied myself, they probably hadn’t seen a dark elf before, and descended down the rest of the steps, my mother’s lessons of making your walk look like you were gliding, going through my head.
I stopped in the doorway to the mansion and gazed over the group.
“Gentlemen, and lady, meet the Mistress of the Mansion, Lady Idraho.” Delia introduced with a small bow and an arm sweeping towards me.
I nod to her. “Welcome to the Edge of the World.”
“My lady, this is Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, the head of their party.” Delia gestures to the bearded man.
He bows. “It is a pleasure, Lady Idraho.”
I tilt my head slightly. “Who is it that travels in your party, Master Kenobi?”
He takes a step to the side. “May I introduce Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka Tano. Escorting us are Commander Cody, Captain Rex, and troopers Kix, Jesse, Hardcase, Fives, Echo, and Tup.”
The troopers along with Commander Cody and Captain Rex were wearing armor that was much smaller than any I had ever seen.
I nodded to each person as Master Kenobi spoke their name. “I have not yet heard of the Jedi, but it sounds like an honor. Now, what is your business on my property?”
Kenobi looked a bit taken aback by my bluntness but I only raised an eyebrow at his hesitance. “Our ship crashed five clicks west of here, and we decided to head east.”
I narrowed my eyes. “You were the ones in the object that fell from the sky.”
“Yes, we call it a gunship, ma’am.” Commander Cody confirmed.
I exchanged a purposeful glance with Delia and motioned for her to stand next to me.
“Yes, my lady.” she murmured to me.
I turned my head towards her but kept an eye on the group. “Gather Greg and Charlie. They should be in the kitchen, and also summon Mary and Alice. Go, as quick as you can.”
She nodded, walked back inside, and quickly up the stairs.
I straightened. “Now, Master Jedi. I do believe that you were of your own free will when you chose to head east instead of west.”
Kenobi nodded slowly, not knowing where I was going with this.
I narrowed my eyes. “If you had gone west you would have arrived in the last village of what most people call ‘Civilization’. What I don’t believe is that you were ignorant of who lives here.”
Kenobi and Skywalker frowned and exchanged glances.
“There have been soldiers at my door before, but none have looked quite like you.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand, my lady.” Kenobi spoke up. “What are you saying?”
I scowled. “The people of ‘Civilization’ despise me and have sent armies to try and kill me before. No one comes to my door without an ulterior motive. No soldier comes to a dark elf’s door for sanctuary, so the only conclusion you must be here to kill me or those under my care.”
“Wait, what?!” Skywalker protested.
By this time, Delia had returned with the entirety of my staff.
I turned to my groundskeeper, Greg. “Take them to the cells. Master Kenobi and Knight Skywalker in one redstone cell and the Commander and Captain in the other. Make sure the Padawan is by herself as is befitting of a woman in a group of men.”
I spun around, entered the mansion and strode towards my office.
“Lady Idraho, wait!” Kenobi cried out but I ignored him.
Hours later, I was still in my office.
Delia knocked on the doorway, then stood in front of my desk.
“Yes, Delia?” I didn’t look up from the inventory of supplies.
“Wouldn’t it be wise to speak with the prisoners?”
I slowly looked up and narrowed my eyes. “Does one wish to speak with me?”
“Yes, Master Kenobi.”
I sighed and leaned back in my chair. “Very well, escort him here.”
Minutes later, I hear footsteps on the carpet lining the hall.
I swallow and straighten my back, these conversations rarely lead to anything good.
The two enter my office and Delia stays near the doorway while Kenobi stands right in front of my desk.
“Master Kenobi, you wished to speak with me?” I raised my eyebrows.
“Yes, I wish to know why my men and I were put in cells.” He stands with the stance of a high ranking soldier, feet shoulder-width apart and his arms behind his back.
I gaze at him for a few seconds before answering. “Very well, but it is a long story.”
He nods minutely but doesn’t move otherwise.
I sigh. “I have been on this earth for over a thousand years, and have lived in this mansion for every moment. This world deems that my race is reason enough to cast what is left of my people aside. The second I leave my property, men and women want my head on a spike.” I met his gaze. “For a thousand years, soldiers and mercenaries have been hired to kill me. They come solo, in duets, in groups or in armies.
“I have lost friends and all of my family to humans and what did I do to deserve it?
His brow furrowed and he started to stroke his beard with his right hand, while his left arm supported his other arm.
“I took in outcasts to be under my protection and most chose to become a part of my staff. Delia’s parents are an excellent example. Her father defected from the army, he didn’t want to kill for the rest of his life and society decided her mother’s red hair was just too different. They came to me and I gave them a home and a purpose. Her mother became my head maid while her father became my groundskeeper. While here, they fell in love and decided they wanted to raise their daughter in the village. I agreed and they moved out after her mother gave birth.” I took a deep breath and steadied myself. “The peace only lasted six months. A traveling merchant recognized them and the village rose in anger. Her father was killed trying to save his wife and child. Her mother was injured and struggled through down the path. She made it back here, but her injuries consumed her life.” I didn’t have to look at her to know that Delia was trying, and failing, to hold back tears. “I raised Delia, not to hate the village, but to be cautious. People can change their minds and hearts in an instant. Now, tell me why I should believe you and your men are any different”
While Kenobi thought through what I had said, I glanced at Delia and tilted my head in a silent question if she needed to leave. She shook her head minutely and straightened her back. My gaze returned to the man and I waited.
“You saw our transport crash, correct?” Kenobi started, and I nodded in response. “We were in a battle above a nearby planet and the gunship was supposed to take us to the surface to reinforce the ground troops. On the way down, we were hit and the pilot did his best to get us out of danger. We hoped that we could find somewhere to recover safely, but as we entered the atmosphere the gunship took more damage. It was all that our pilot could do to not crash completely. As we neared the surface, one of the men spotted your mansion. The gunship crashed and we were able to escape the wreckage but our pilot didn’t make it. Your mansion was the only civilization we could see, so we came this way and hoped for the best.”
I searched his eyes for the usual deception but found none. “I can tell you are telling the truth. However, I have never heard of people being able to reach the stars. Are all your people so advanced as to fly and to travel the skies as easily as we travel between villages?”
Kenobi nodded. “Yes, most of our people have the means to travel between star systems as well.”
I smiled, shaking my head. “Unbelievable.” I muttered, then cleared my throat. “I would advise you not to speak of this to anyone else of this land. We lack the means to travel the sky and if they are suspicious of my travels between realms, I fear for what they would do with your people's practices.”
“Realm traveling?” Kenobi frowned, but I just chuckled.
“A story for another time, Master Kenobi. For now, Delia will show you and your men to the smaller of the two bunk rooms. Will Padawan Tano be alright with you and your men or does she require a different room?”
“That would be her choice.” Kenobi shrugged.
I turned to Delia. “If the Padawan chooses a different room, give her the master guest room.” I looked back to Kenobi. “Settle yourselves and I will send someone to fetch you all when dinner is ready.”
Delia led him from my office and I rubbed a hand across my forehead. Change was on the horizon and I could only hope that it would be for the better.