First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain. Please be tolerant.
The Riley Pack
Chloe had never travelled for more than three days at a time.
“How many days did you say this would take?”
“It took us ten, and then one more on the other side.” Elliott said.
Dool shook his head, “She’s slow. It will take us more.”
“Oh… ah, I apologize for what it is worth.” Chloe said.
They had exited the kingdom in two days, not even bothering to stop in the city Hannibal as they passed through. The Elken jungle also gave them no issues. The King had made a deal with the pair of rangers that patrolled that area long ago. They guarded travellers from the fiercely territorial tribes of Elken, and other than those two guides, they encountered no one in the short trip. Outside and to the north of the kingdom the wilderness turned to grassy plains. They passed the plateau on which the N’Tariel lived, but did not turn to visit. They did not need to resupply, and Dool had stated that too much time had already gone by in the kingdom.
Now they were entering the territory of the wild 100% Riley. Chloe became very nervous as the plains became littered with dark trees.
“Ah, did you happen to encounter any of the Riley here?”
Dool shook his head, not bothering to look back. Elliott shrugged, “nope.”
“Well… We might.”
“Why?” Elliott, who had slowed his pace to match Chloe’s, was right next to her.
Chloe looked down on him. Had he always been so short? Elliott looked back up at her. She had always been this tall. He wasn’t sure how to feel about their height difference. Chloe noticed his dark skin turn a little bit redder.
“Oh, ah, well… The 100% Riley are savages.” Elliott gave her a grave and suspicious look. “Ah! I don’t mean that in any sort of derogatory way! I mean they are uncivilized and… they eat us.”
At this, all of Elliott’s suspected racism changed to shock, “they what?”
Chloe looked away, but spoke, “The Solune are supposedly very delicious. First the Condors ate us, so we fled the Underside. Then here, the Riley hunted us.”
“That was four thousand years ago though.”
Chloe nodded, “so, while you became less appealing to the Condor and the Riley, we remained as sought after as before. For a long time the King tried to combat this by adding alkaline foods to our diet.”
“And?” Elliott asked.
“Ah, well, it sort of worked, but we’re still… a delicacy.” Chloe looked down at Elliott, “So if they come after us, it’s my fault.”
“There’s a group watching us from the eastern ridge.” Dool said.
“Ah…” Chloe also frowned, and then timidly drew the King’s Sword.