Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The Detention Adventure - Episode 7: Sleep Sounds Fantastic

The Detention Adventure

The Detention Adventure is an interactive Choose Your Own Path story. Each episode, readers vote for the path they would like to take. Together, we will follow the path with the most votes.

With a final puff on his pipe, the elder returns his attention to you. “It is getting late. I will have someone show you where you may spend the night.”

  • You aren’t tired. You want to hear about how the Driman guy returned to your world.
  • That smoke and story really made you drowsy. Sleeping sounds like a fantastic idea.

That smoke and story really made you drowsy. Now that Ayaldwita mentioned it, you can’t think about anything else. With a yawn, you nod. Sleeping sounds like a fantastic idea.

The elder signals to another elf, who hurries over. After a hushed conversation in a language you cannot understand, the younger elf gives a small bow and scurries away.

Ayaldwita gets to his feet. “You may stay in my home while you remain in Maguth. Gudram is preparing my edor.”

You send him a confused look. “Your what?”

“Edor. The place I spend the night.”

“Oh. Like your house?”

The elder shrugs. “I’m not familiar with that word. Come. I will show you and you can teach me your word for my edor.”

Smiling, Ayaldwita heads to the door. You rush to follow him outside.

Daylight has disappeared. The roaring bonfire has simmered to the size of a campfire. Stars dot the moonlit sky. You look for a familiar constellation, but you can’t find any. It doesn’t help that your knowledge of astrometry is limited to the Big Dipper and the Belt of Orion. The moon bobbing up and down above your head is also an inconvenience. It’s almost like it’s following you.

Frowning, you stop in your tracks to stare at the moon. Celestial bodies don’t bob up and down. And while they might move in the sky over the course of several hours, they’re not supposed to follow you.

But the orb above your head is definitely moving, though now that you have stopped, it appears to be following the elder, not you. It takes another moment, but eventually you realize that’s not the moon. That’s the same light you saw in the meeting hall. It must have followed you outside.

Ayaldwita glances over his shoulder, turning to face you when he sees you are no longer behind him. “Is everything okay?”

Nodding slowly, you point at the orb. “That light. I saw it in the hall, too. What is it?”

Puzzled, the old elf frowns at the sky. It seems to take a moment for him to understand what you mean. When he finally does, he gives a small chuckle. “Oh, you mean the leeoma? It is a ball of pure light energy. We use it to guide our way after nightfall. I suppose you would call it a lantern?”

You shake your head. “Lanterns are jars with fire inside, not energy. And we have to carry them. They certainly don’t float above our head.”

“Fascinating. I would love to see one. Perhaps you can conjure one for me before you leave. I so enjoy learning about humans. Anyway.” He gestures to a hut. “My edor. Welcome.”

The elder enters first, the ball of light dipping low enough to pass through the doorway before him. You follow, stopping just over the threshold.

The log cabin is nothing like you expected. Though the outside is made of logs, the interior walls are as smooth as those in your own home. Unlike your house, however, a large tree stands in the center of the room, extending through a hole in the ceiling. If you didn’t know any better, you would think someone built the cabin around the tree.

Four ropes extend from the tree, each going to another corner of the room. They look like clotheslines. On the one to your right hangs a brown tunic that looks nearly identical to the one the Ayaldwita is wearing. On the left hangs what looks to be a bedsheet, although you’re not sure how it could dry hung that way. Instead of being draped over the line, the ends are tied over the rope, leaving the center drooping. Behind it, you can see the younger elf, tying a second sheet to the line.

Ayaldwita gestures to him. “Gudram is preparing your bed.”

You raise your eyebrows at the elder. “That’s a bed?”

“Of course.” He cocks his head to the side, his expression a mixture of amusement, confusion, and curiosity. “Do you not have beds in your land?”

“We do. But they don’t look like that.”

“Really? What are they like?”

You frown. How are you supposed to describe something as basic as your bed? “Well, the outside, I guess that’s the frame? It’s all wood. It’s got slats at the bottom going across and the mattress—that’s the soft part—it sits on top.”

“That sounds complicated. Our bed is simple. I will show you.” Ayalwitha turns to the other elf. “Thank unc, Gudram.”

After the two elves hold a brief exchange, the younger elf gives a small bow and heads toward the door. When he reaches you, he nods, saying something with a smile.

You assume he’s asking you to move, so you step aside. As the elf leaves, you turn to Ayalwitha, pointing over your shoulder. “Uh, what did he just say?”

The elder chuckles. “Genihtsuma binnan awefecung cyst. Literally, it means overflow within good quality sleep. It is what we say before retiring for the evening.”

You make a face. “That’s a lot of words to say goodnight.”

“But then, does goodnight mean enjoy your evening before you retire or enjoy your dreams?”

You shrug. “It just means goodnight.”

Shaking his head, Ayalwitha stands beside one of the hanging sheets, gesturing for you to stand beside the other. When you do, he nods. Without words, he pulls one side of the sheet down slightly, turning to sit in it as if it were a swing. You mirror his actions in your own sheet. As he leans backward, he turns so his head is near the tree and his feet face the corner of the room. Kicking off your shoes, you do the same.

The fabric folds around you, but you do not feel trapped. The sheet is surprisingly comfortable. Almost like a hammock. And it’s angled slightly, so you don’t really need a pillow. Hopefully, you won’t roll out of it during the night.

The elder calls to you from the other hammock. “Genihtsuma binnan awefecung cyst.”

“Genny—” Ugh. There is no way you can repeat the saying. “Night!”

Exhausted by the events of the day, you close your eyes.

When you open them again, you are disoriented. What do you see before you?

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