The reason Zibnizik had not been in his room last night was unusual, unprovoked, and rather chilling for himself. He had actually been in Bel Haven, picking out the appropriate attire. How did one prepare for a luncheon with a beautiful woman?

Zibnizik was a normal, rational, studious person. He did not go out on romantic excursions often…ever. It was both a matter of choice and not. He found so much pleasure in his pursuit of potions, that he rarely felt the need to go out in a social manner. It was only in the dark corners of the night that he remembered that he was so often alone.

And so when this woman out of nowhere asked him to come to a performance, he had to say yes. If nothing else, it was a wonderful experience far beyond the norm.

And so he found himself in a rather nondescript part of town. He clutched at the sparse directions that had been meant to guide him. He had passed through Melody, extremely grateful that she had not asked him to attend there. The music would have driven him mad. Instead, he was at what she had called Counterpoint, a close-held secret of the town. The bouncer for the entire cul de sac had looked him over thoroughly, but still let him through.

Zibnizik sat at his table, pulled out a book, and began to read. She had chosen a wonderfully quiet place, though there was no performer as of yet. No matter, even if he had been stood up, this place was an absolute joy. And the vintages were sublime, he made a note to return more often.

“Hi, folks.”

Zibnizik looked up, and saw his date on the stage. An elf, young for her race. Zibnizik had done the calculations, adjusted his already long lifespan with her own, and figured that they were only a few years apart in human terms. Still, she looked taller up there, confident. Her lute was in her hands, already finding her fingerings.

“My name’s Yuva, and tonight I brought something a little quieter for you today. I have a new friend, and I didn’t want to scare him off immediately.”

Yuva the elf struck a chord, and light poured out of the instrument. Brown, it looked like her hair had started to glow. It became trees, green with foliage.

Come walk with me, come talk with me/Through the trees, through the trees.

Don’t close your eyes, it will be all right/In the trees, in the trees.

The gnome’s eyes almost bulged out of their sockets. Yuva looked straight at him, walking through the new forest.

I have come so far, to find where you are/Feel the ease, find the trees.

She walked off the stage, and settled down right next to Zibnizik.

There is time to talk, on this magic walk/Through the trees, through the trees.

Oh, no. A lightness in his head. The shaking of his hands. Zibnizik could only watch in horror as she played on. Yuva was singing, and performing magic, and that lute music.

Dear, he couldn’t be enraptured with someone, could he?

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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