The days were becoming colder and growing shorter. The musky smell of leaf piles and pine danced across the crisp clear blue sky and a cool breeze gave way to red and brown leaves that were beginning to rain from the treetops.
Cicada could begin to make out Erywood coming into view.
The petite gray-eyed brown-skinned half-elf was along with her mistress lady Yrlissa Valiana Seaton, the only daughter to the Seaton house. They left Selse Lenora by carriage in haste before dawn. It was about a two-day journey to Erywood and Yrlissa wasn't happy.
"What is that disgusting smell," Yrlissa rolled her emerald green eyes. "It's almost unbearable," the light-skinned red-haired beautiful elf wrinkled her nose.
"I like the smell my lady," Cicada smiled. " I find it rather refreshing,"
Yrlissa rolled her eyes. "Whatever, I hate this, I want to go back to Selse Lenora. I don't know why my father insisted on sending me off to some disgusting backwater town forcing me to live in some loathsome orc village? Me! His only daughter. He has no right!"
"I can't pretend to know what the Lord Mayor was thinking," Cicada said. "But we can't go against his wishes,"
"You can't go against my father because you're a servant," Yrlissa said. "But I was happy and comfortable in Selse Lenora. I don't know why he made me leave in the first place. I mean I'm his daughter, doesn't he care about my happiness."
"I hear Erywood is beautiful,"
"Whatever you twit , you've heard nothing, you know nothing," Yrlissa hissed. "Orcs can't make anything beautiful. They probably live in smelly pig pens. I already miss the elegant buildings and the fine living of Selse Lenora,"
"I'm sure the orcs will go about their business and pay you no mind, my lady,"
"Cicada, a half breed like you will never understand. What orc wouldn't want me." Yrlissa groaned. "You have no idea what it's going to be like for someone who looks like me to be surrounded by orcs. Once they see me they'll dream of doing this and that with me. Orcs are huge and forceful. Why do you think they are best suited for war? It's who they are, aggressive, violent, warmongers with the will to constantly war, and I am being forced to live among some inferior beast, all because my father wanted the position as Lord Mayor so bad he didn't care where it took him,"
"Maybe it won't be so bad my lady," Cicada insisted.
"I should just run away. Anything is better than living with disgusting orcs."
"But elves and orcs have always gotten along -."
"I know that Cicada, I don't need to be told that by a half-breed like you. You may be tiny and petite with the beautiful soft features of an elf but you're still just half-breed. And not every elf hails the orcs as the saviors of the elven people and besides whatever the orcs may or may have not done was a long time ago and it has nothing to do with me." Yrlissa hissed.
Cicada turned her head and glanced out the window once more. She never understood why Yrlissa always felt the need to insult her.
"I've heard the stories, just like you and every other woman in Selse Lenora have. The stories of what orcs do to women. I'm being forced to endure a lifetime of unhappiness," Yrlissa hissed. "Do you have any idea how that makes me feel? No, you don't, so stop trying to comfort me and pretend that things are not as bad as they are. I shouldn't be forced to live among these barbaric orcs."
"But you've never even seen an orc, you know nothing of them."
"Ha," Yrlissa laughed. "I don't have to meet one to know they are all ignorant violent savage beasts."
The carriage rolled across a wooden bridge and up a hill then came to a stop in front of a beautiful white stone manor that overlooked all of Erywood.
Erywood was just as beautiful as all the rumors implied. Nestled deep in the forest at the base of a snow-covered mountain peak, hidden by tall thick trees with leaves that were beginning to brown.
Yrlissa couldn't believe she was here. She didn't want to be here, as she dreamed of her life back in the beautiful city of Selse Lenora with all the lords and ladies, a large calloused green hand extended towards her.
Her eyes trailed up his warrior-laden hand in disgust to an orc covered in scars. Her eyes widened and her face twisted in disgust.
"I don't require your help," she replied, pushing his hand away.
A low growl rumbled in the orc's throat as his eyes narrowed. Yrlissa swallowed hard, realizing the orc knew she had just insulted him. But he said nothing and lowered his hand.
Yrlissa turned her nose up at the orc then stepped out of the carriage and fell flat on her face in a pool of muddy water.
Quiet laughter erupted in the form of grunts and clearing throats that came from a group of orcs that had been standing around and saw the whole exchange between the two.
Yrlissa glared red-faced at the orcs pretending not to laugh at her. When they saw her looking, they all tried to hold in their obvious laughter, though not very hard.
"Oh my goodness Yrlissa, are you okay?" Cicada asked.
"I'm fine," she answered, holding her hand out to the orc she had just insulted by refusing to take his hand.
But the orc smirked at her with a satisfying grin and extended his hand to Cicada who gladly took it. His hands moved past hers and to her waist. With one flawless motion, he plucked her from the carriage taking great care not to let her fall or get muddy.
"Thank you," Cicada smiled, unable to meet the orc's eyes.
The orc nodded his head and stepped back and Cicada fixed her eyes on him.
This tall, green, bulky orc looming over her had unknowingly taken her breath away. She could feel the heat of his powerful presence radiating all over her. Her knees nearly buckled under the weight of his very existence.
Aside from the stories she heard thrown around back in Selse Lenora. Cicada had never laid eyes on an orc before either. She had heard stories of how big they were in size. But all the stories in the world could not have prepared her for this moment.
She couldn't take her eyes off the powerful orc. His long thick black mane was pulled back into one long braid. His face had been touched by worry or perhaps guilt, which weighed heavily on his broad shoulders but he wasn't unpleasant to look at.
Seeing him sent a wave of confusion over her that evoked uncontrollable feelings of attraction towards him. Her heart was pounding fast and loud. She could feel her body getting hotter and hotter. Her eagerness to be next to him and simply take in his scent left her yearning for him.
Her eyes took in every inch of him, not wanting to miss anything. Her curious gaze trailed up his arms covered in scars that stretched all the way up past his massive biceps that were practically bursting from his tunic.
She dared not look him in the eyes. Her heart was racing and she was sure he could hear how loud it was pounding.
How? In a moment like this could she find herself so attracted to someone she doesn't even know.
Yrlissa who was still on the ground. Silently gazed at Cicada then the orc and back at Cicada.
"What a disgusting display Cicada." Yrlissa hissed.
"I'm sorry my lady, I-"
Cicada broke her mesmerizing gaze away from the orc and rushed to aid Yrlissa.
"That... Orc," she hissed. "Made me fall, then after he made me fall, he refused to help me up. These green skins have no manners or etiquette."
She made sure to whisper that last part so that only Cicada could hear.
That's not what happened at all. Cicada thought.
"And you, and that, that, that unbecoming display... And with and with an orc no less. You should be embarrassed."
"Sorry, my lady "
"Don't apologize Cicada, just help me up," Yrlissa ordered. "Less you feel the need to continue to flirt with that orc."
Cicada helped Yrlissa to her feet and used the sleeve of her dress to wipe the mud from her face.
"These orcs have no manners, they don't even know how to greet a woman of my standing properly. These orcs can't treat me this way."
"Yrlissa, my lady please don't make a fuss," Cicada pleaded.
"Listen to your friend," the orc that tried to help her off the carriage said.
"Do you know who I am, you can't speak to me that way." Yrlissa scolded. "My father is the Lord Mayor."
"Is that so," the orc smirked.
"Yes, and when he finds out how you are treating me he'll-"
"He'll what?" the orc laughed.
"What, how dare you speak to me that way. You ill-mannered disrespectful disgusting orc!"
"Yrlissa!" Cicada yelled, she couldn't believe Yrlissa's arrogance, to speak such words to an orc.
"Watch your tongue," the orc glared down at Yrlissa slamming his fist into the carriage, nearly sending it toppling over.
The driver had to jump from his seat to calm the horses.
"You speak words too big for your little mouth," the orc stepped towards Yrlissa.
Yrlissa's eyes widened and she froze at the sight of the orc now coming at her. The deathing gaze that sparked his eyes when he looked at Yrlissa sent tears rolling down her cheek.
She instantly regretted her words, but she could not take them back.
"My Lord," Cicada pleaded, stepping in front of Yrlissa. She cast her eyes downward and dared not look at him.
"My lord, please forgive lady Yrlissa, it was a long trip from Selse Lenora and she is just tired and knows not what she says. Or who she says it to."
A low rumble escaped the orc's throat.
"You would do well to learn your place elf. You are no prize here. Get over yourself sweetheart," the orc replied and walked away.
Cicada heaved a sigh of relief as she watched the orc walk away. She couldn't help but stare at his massive back as he slowly disappeared from her view. Her heart was pounding but not out of fear.
Yrlissa's mouth hung slightly open, she could not believe this inferior orc had spoken to her in such a rude manner, insulting her. Suggesting that she was not a prize to an orc, and even addressing her as sweetheart.
"That orc has no idea who he's dealing with,"
"My lady, please just leave it alone."
"I will not," Yrlissa insisted. "That orc was rude, disrespectful, smelly and, and, and-"
"I thought he smelled nice," Cicada whispered to herself.
"Cicada! What! Don't compliment that monster," Yrlissa hissed.
She was willing to look past the fact that her father hadn't greeted her properly upon her arrival had he been waiting for her with a feast or some other grand gesture once she entered into the town. But she was only greeted by disapproving eyes and a behemoth of a repulsive disrespectful beast.
"I hate this place," Yrlissa whispered. "I want to go home, back to Selse Lenora?"
Yrlissa's face flushed red and Cicada was sure she could see Yrlissa trying to hold back her tears.