“That’s… not a very auspicious name,” she said. Adam glared at her. He was beginning to find this manifestation of his subconscious to be slightly obnoxious. Who was it to be so judgmental?
“Sorry it doesn’t meet your approval,” he said dryly. “But it’s always worked just fine for me.”
“Huhn,” she said in a tone that said she didn’t quite believe him. “Well maybe you do names differently where you come from.”
“Maybe we do.”
“Still. You’d think… never mind. I’m sure Eyes knows what she’s doing.”
“Eyes. My older sister.”
“She knows what she’s-“
“Ugh, this is taking forever. Can you ride a horse?”
“Can I- what? Maybe?” Adam, taken aback by the quick subject change, fumbled for the right answer. “It’s not really- I don’t do it all the time. I mean, I have ridden horses, if that’s what you mean.”
“Good enough. Get on: I’m tired of this slow pace.”
And that was how Adam found himself jostling up and down, clinging uncomfortably to Swift as her horse raced across the plain. Stupid dream with its stupid realistic physics: now would definitely be a good time for the flying to kick in.
“I thought you said you could ride!” she yelled over her shoulder. He thought she might be grinning.
“Am I falling off?”
“Then shut up!”
It was probably only an hour or two before they reached the campsite, but it seemed like an eternity to his more delicate regions. Swift hopped down gracefully, pretending not to notice as Adam clung to the horse after his own descent. He wasn’t 100% certain his legs were up to the task of supporting him. Stupid, stupid dream.
He distracted himself from the throbbing in his body by taking a look around. It wasn’t really what he’d had in mind when Swift had said “campsite”- that being a little campfire with some bedrolls. No, this was more like… “camp-village”. There were at least six large tents big enough for several families, as well as a scattering of medium-sized tents, and a few smaller tents obviously meant for only one or two people. (Elves.) (Whatever.) There was also a large herd of horses grazing peacefully, and a whole lot of elves staring at him with obvious interest. Their skin was all variations of the reddish-ochre Swift possessed- some a little darker, some a little paler- and their down/hair color all seemed to fall within the same family, as well. Swift was, however, one of the tallest amongst her people. Adam, who was short by human male standards, suddenly started to feel like a giant. It was not entirely unpleasant.
“C’mon,” his guide said, and grabbed him by the sleeve. She dragged him toward one of the medium-sized tents, and he let her without protest. Who was he to protest what his subconscious wanted him to see? Especially now that it has stopped torturing him via horseback riding…
The interior of the tent held a single female elf- this one with skin the exact shade of Swift’s, but with down/hair the color soft cream. It was a shocking contrast, made even more pronounced when she captured Adam’s gaze with her own: her eyes were a vivid cat-green. It was a little creepy.
“You were right, Eyes,” said Swift, flopping down unceremoniously next to the green-eyed elf. He was exactly where you said he'd be. And he says his name is A Dammed River, of all things.”
“That’s not-“ Adam began to protest, but Swift kept talking right over him.
“I mean really- A Dammed River? What kind of a name is that for a hero? Sister, I think you may have called the wrong one.”
A hero? Adam’s mouth hung open. For all its boring start, this dream was getting a lot more promising.
“We shall see whether or not I’ve called whom I meant to call,” said Eyes. “But in the meantime, little sister, you are being rude. A Dammed River, my name is Eyes That See Beyond. I am shaman for our tribe, and it is I who have summoned you to our aide.”
“My name isn’t-“ Adam protested weakly, but Swift broke in again.
“He goes by A Dam. Which, if you ask me, is even worse.”
“Well no one asked you!” said Adam, forgetting that he was defending a moniker he didn’t actually use. Damn his subconscious was annoying. Eyes hid a smile behind her hand while Swift glared.
“Perhaps, sister, you should leave us alone. I’m sure A Dam has many questions.” Swift rolled her eyes, but got to her feet and left the tent. Eyes gestured to Adam to sit, then offered him a small cup, which he took without thinking.
“I hope you like our tea,” she said. “I asked the gods to send us someone from a world as similar to ours as possible, but you never know what will and will not translate.” She held a hand up to the tip of her pointed ear and gave him a little grin. Adam could not help but smile back, and took a small sip. He found the taste similar to chamomile, but with a touch of spice. Pleasant.
“It’s nice,” he said. “The gods, huh?”
“Yes. You have to be… fairly specific with what you ask for. Their sense of humor is… well, one might say a bit twisted, so if you aren’t very careful about what you request…”
“You end up with a strangely pale, round-eared giant with an inauspicious name?”
“Something like that,” she took a sip herself, but he could see her eyes crinkling with delight over the edge of the cup. He decided they were nice eyes. Not creepy at all.