States of Light

Miss Dopportunity

Amalaun walked breezily along the great hall. It was early—ish—in the morning, and for once Amalaun was waking up with rising sun instead of bidding it goodnight after long hours of revelry. He felt refreshed, excited. The League had finally sent message that his talents were required. At last! Amalaun nearly greeted a passing member in the hall with an enthusiastic slap on the shoulder, but then reconsidered. Quite the icy stare, Amalaun mused. Must be an instructor.
Up a flight of stairs, down another hall, and into a stately antechamber. Off to the side, a woman sat behind a desk, quietly scanning several sheets of papyrus. She looked up at Amalaun’s entrance.
“Don’t mind me, just here on League business.” Amalaun hoped the reference would impress. A very attractive attendant indeed.
“Thank you,” the woman replied evenly, and leaned forward to write on a sheet.
Amalaun started, then laughed. “My goodness, was that out loud? I’m an ass. A thorough donkey. Ah well. Happens all the time. I’m not sorry though,” he added as he headed towards the doors. “I spoke the absolute truth.”
I’ll take that smile as intrigued, Amalaun thought, although truthfully her face was unreadable.
The dark elf strode into the round meeting chamber, dominated by a large, marble topped table and a dozen imposing chairs. It was empty of anyone else. First to arrive. Amalaun paused, considering. He didn’t want to appear too keen. Perhaps he should pop out for a quick breakfast—maybe even the alluring attendant might join him. Then, just as quickly, Amalaun tossed the thought aside, and flopped down in one of the chairs. I’m here, I can greet all the others lack-a-daws!
An hour later, the chamber remained devoid of life, save Amalaun and a flourishing dalia in the corner. The dark elf sat, drumming his fingers along the marble top skittishly. An hourglass on a nearby side table, but it was useless—Amalaun had already flipped it over several times in boredom, trying to count the sand grains.
Finally, Amalaun hopped to his feet, and strode back out into the antechamber.
“Ah, excuse me…?”
The woman behind the desk raised her grey eyes.
“Yes?”
“I was just wondering, ah…is there perhaps another Chamber of the League on this floor? I was here for a meeting, but, ah, well…” Amalaun gestured to the obviously empty chamber.
“And you are?”
“Amalaun Melep. League Member. And you are, Miss…?”
“Ing from my list.”
“How…original. I like it.”
She shook her head.
“Sorry, what?”
“You are.”
“…yes?”
“Missing from my list.”
“Oh. Oh! I see, very clever—wait, what?! That can’t be. I was called for a meeting—”
“For nine bells, tuesday morning.”
“Exactly!”
“At the League Chamber.”
“Where we are.” Amalaun hesitated. “Aren’t we?”
The woman with the grey eyes smiled her small smile, and nodded. She pushed forward a sheet of papyrus.
Amalaun glanced down at it. There he saw a list of names, a neat check mark beside each one. His own at the bottom, plus a bunch above he didn’t know, save three—Gorun Giantkin, Korin Jiki Mal, and Hrath.
“Wait, I thought you said I was missing from your list.”
“You are.”
Amalaun face creased in confusion. With a deft, almost flippant gesture, he spun the sheet around to face the woman, and tapped beside his name.
“No, you are missing from this” she held up a different sheet,“which is the list of members meeting today. At 12 bells. On,” small smile," wednesday…"
It took a moment for her word to sink in.
“What?! No it can’t—ah schnauserstein.” Amalaun slumped. So that’s why he had no hangover. And was up so early. He’d missed an entire day!
“I don’t suppose,” Amalaun said with a sigh, “you’d care to go for breakfast with Amalaun Melep? League member? And part-time ass?”
The woman shook her head. At least this time, Amalaun noted, her smile was sympathetic.
“Didn’t think so. Well. I’ll be on my way.”
Amalaun paused at the door. A thought had occurred to him, and he and turned back. The woman glanced up once more.
“Out of curiosity, how long would you have let me sit there?”
The smile was again unreadable.
“I assumed you were here for the noon meeting, sir.”
It was Amalaun’s turn to smile.
“No…you knew who I was.”
The woman raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“All the names on tuesday’s list had check marks.”
A nod.
“But I wasn’t here for the meeting. Why else the check marks? And, when I first entered and made my…observation, you marked something down. I thought at first it was your address, that is the usual reaction, but no…you checked off my name. As ‘arrived’.”
The woman sat back slightly and gazed at the drow, with…satisfaction? By the gods, grey eyes are indecipherable! Then, she nodded.
“Better late than never, sir.”
“Please. Amalaun.”
“Yes, sir.”
A pause. Amalaun stepped towards the table, an arch to his own eyebrow.
“So, you already know who I am. I’d no idea I held so much interest to you, Miss…”
“Taken.”
“Ah very nice, a northern name if I’m not mista—right, got it, enjoy your day.”
As Amalaun trotted out of the room, away from those grey eyes and that smile, he vowed he would not sleep in and miss another invitation.
Not the first time he’d made that promise…

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