When Elkintra’s eyes had become as accustomed to the light of the Overland Sun as they were ever going to be, he left the secret place of the twin rocks on the hill and moved down towards the trees. He had eaten yesterday (a basic meal of raw cave mushrooms he had picked a day before) and still had a supply of dry rations in his backpack, but he knew that food and drink would be his most immediate concern, followed closely by shelter, for if his entrance to this world was anything to go by, he now knew that Surface nights were cold.
After that, he guessed he would have to find his station in this place. What sort of Houses ruled in this land? How would he know which one to approach? Also, he had learned from the Scions of Dellathrak, his city of birth, that elves were not dominant in this world. That privelege went strangely to humans. Elkintra had met few humans in his life and only ever got to know one. All of them had been slaves.
He remembered now his Nursery Master from when he was growing up. A human by the name of Gorm. For three years Gorm had been tasked to help raise Elkintra and his older brother. The human was much more fun than some of the other slave nursery masters he had had. And he had been a good story teller. In fact, Elkintra had quite liked him, although he did always seem to present his weaker side. Elkintra supposed that it might be difficult to do anything else if one was a slave. He must have been quite clever though. A bit of a waste really.
Gorm certainly knew quite a lot. He was useless at warfare, and even the children could outwit him in any combat maneouvres, but he always seemed to know what the children wanted, and was kind and gentle, which was more than he could say for most of his other tutors. He was, of course, slain in the great chamber when his brother openly stabbed a Priestess. After all, Gorm was the carer. He should have been more careful. Elkintra laughed, remembering the absurdity of it all. Of course Gorm had nothing to do with his brother’s transgressions. But that was Duskryn law!
Gorm had taught him the few Common words and phrases that he now remembered. He had also told him that human law was not as severe as drow law. Females were not as powerful and generally most of their leaders were men. If there was one thing Gorm had impressed upon him, it was the importance of trust. And the best way to earn trust was to act as if you meant everything you said. He said humans were suckers for this every time. And, he had added, if there ever still seemed any doubt, then use “The Promise” Raise up your right hand and say: “I give you my word!” It was difficult to believe such a thing, but Elkintra decided that it was something he may have to try. (He had certainly practised that phrase enough!)