Talloran, a local herbalist from Talithis in Tallanore Wood, decides one day to go searching and gathering of herbs. It is, after all, his profession and life passion, and finding previously unknown herbs was the best part of his job. Nothing makes his day more than finding a new, unknown herb and attempting to determine what it is and what properties it may possess. So, one fine spring morning, Talloran gets dressed, gathers up his bags, herb pouches and walking staff and moves on out to explore the countryside in search of his passion.
“Today is a fine day. I hope I find a new herb or two this day.” Talloran says, inspirationally.
Talloran walks for several miles, occasionally stopping to inspect a possible herb. Then, quite unexpectedly, Talloran spots several men up ahead, off to one side of the road in a small grove of trees. Quickly moving off the road himself to avoid being seen, Talloran slides into the deeper brush, hoping to avoid these men and whatever nefarious objectives they may have. He intends to give them quite a wide berth, so as to…..
Talloran feels a sharp blow to the back of his head and passes out immediately.
Talloran awakens with a massive, throbbing headache as well as a significant trickle of blood flowing down the side of his face. He puts a hand to his face noticing the blood and pain immediately. Suddenly, he feels quite cold. Not sure what’s going on or what happened to him, Talloran looks himself over, the pain of his headache making each movement agonizing. Talloran is totally naked. There is not a single possession of his anywhere to be found. He’s been robbed! Highwaymen!
“Figures.” Talloran states dejectedly.
Talloran decides to lay there for a bit longer, hoping the pain will subside by resting, and then it starts to rain.
“This just keeps getting better and better.” Talloran muses bitterly.
It’s obvious that Talloran has been out long enough for the weather to change, which isn’t unexpected for Tallanore. Struggling to his feet, Talloran looks around to try and get a better view of his surroundings and his condition, and thinks, I’m still naked. The bastards even took my boots. Talloran starts back to town, at least, in the direction he thinks is back towards Talithis.
“I don’t think you want to go that way, human.” A soft, supple voice says seemingly out of thin air. “Talithis, the human settlement, is in the opposite direction you’re heading.”
“What? Who’s there? Show yourself, brigand! Give me my things back!” Talloran barks, upset and now thoroughly soaked due to the rain.
“Keep your voice down, young man. They might be still around.” The voice says, softly and reassuringly.
“Where are you? Who are you? As you can see, I’ve nothing left for you to steal, so either you show yourself, or leave me be!” Talloran says.
“I just thought I’d help you out. I saw what happened.” The voice speaks. “You’re right about the brigands. There were seven of them. You had no chance. You’re lucky they only robbed you.”
“Yeah, I feel so fortunate.” Talloran remarks, his voice dripping with sarcasm before it gives way to biting anger. “They took every possession I owned!”
‘Yes, yes they did.” The voice mentions, rather matter-of-factly.
“Are you ever going to show yourself, or help me, or are you afraid to take on a naked man?!” Talloran mocks.
Laughter, soft demure laughter, peels out from the brush to his right. “I’m sorry young human. Please forgive me.” The voice states. Then, out of the underbrush steps a strikingly beautiful female creature, beauty of which the young man had seldom, nay never, seen before. Thin, sleek and amazingly nimble, the most unusual feature of the humanoid are its ears and eyes. Angular and thin, the creature looks more like nature than humanoid.
“Hello. Oh my. What are you?” Talloran asks.
“I am Elven. My name is Aerilla of Tallacore. And you are?” The elf asks.
“I am Talloran, herbalist extraordinaire from Talithis, now Talloran the herbalist of poverty.”
Aerilla smiles and approaches Talloran. He hesitates, unsure of the creature’s intentions. “What do you want with me?”
“I want to help you.” Aerilla states. “I want to give you something and tell you something.”
“Okay. What do you wish to give me?” Talloran asks.
“This.” Aerilla reaches inside her brilliantly camouflaged cloak and pulls out a pouch and tosses it to Talloran. “I figure this is the least I could do. I hate brigands too.”
Talloran cautiously reaches down and grabs the pouch. Inspecting it, he looks to Aerilla questioningly. “Is this some sort of trick?”
“I don’t understand. A trick?” Aerilla queries, clearly unsure of the human’s meaning. “It’s a pouch I wish to give to you.”
“But why?” Talloran wonders. “Why would you care about an ambushed human in the middle of nowhere, robbed and beaten within an inch of my life?”
“Look inside the pouch. You’ll understand.” Aerilla speaks. “It’s my job.”
Talloran looks down at the pouch again, looks back to Aerilla, and she’s nowhere to be seen. She vanished as quickly as she had appeared.
Talloran looks at the pouch yet again, opens it and lets loose an audible gasp.
Life has never been so good ever since for Talloran.