Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs
Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.
The tavern was as busy as it was during the spring festival, although t was not spring, and there was no festival going on. It was the height of summer, and even the shady parts of the forest were hot, the way Shu-Giri imagined the desert would be. Although, he admitted to himself, the desert was probably quite hotter. At the very least, the ale was fresh, and there was plenty of mead to go around. There was even summer fae wine in the cellar, but the elves of his village really did prefer the ale. the fae, after all, much prefer to flit and flutter among the trees and watch the elves come and go from the tavern, giggling at the way some of them tripped over their own feet.
Shu-Giri had decided several songs ago that he would better enjoy the music while sitting down. He did not have the same skills in dancing that he had in jewel-working, which was really too bad for him, because he could work wonders with a crystal and a chisel. That evening, however, he did not mind; he had other things on his mind.
One other thing, really. Another elf, to be exact, and he was walking through the door as the band started up a lively song that had most of the other tavern-goers up and dancing on the open area of the floor. A grin crossed Shu-Giri’s face as he saw the new-comer pause just inside the doorway to glance around the tavern. He hopped to his feet, mug of ale in hand, and hurried over to the man in the grass-green cloak.
“Gelkrem, you made it!” Shu-Giri cheered as he embraced the other man. “Why the cloak, though? It’s far too hot for something like this!”
The man looked away from the crowded part of the room, turning his body slightly, and then muttered, “My kind do not come to the common villages.”
“They may not come often, Gelkrem, but they are always welcome.”
The other man shook his head, the firelight shimmering on his gilded skin as he moved. “Perhaps there is a more private place where we could speak? I came to see you, not to cause a ruckus by my presence.”
Shu-Giri agree, and escorted him to the side of the tavern opposite the music and dancing. There were a few quiet booths back there, and a wall that separated that area from the main room. Gelkrem took a seat while the more lively man rushed off to fetch another pair of tankards filled with ale. When he finally sat down across the table from him, he was grinning like a fox that had just caught the plumpest mouse in the meadow.
Blinking, Gelkrem watched him, unsure what to say next. He peeked down at his mug a few times, but kept looking back to the elf who had invited him to the village.
“I really am glad you came!” Shu-Giri practically cheered after finishing off his older tankard. “I was surprised that you even accepted my invitation.”
Gelkrem nodded and thought for a moment before speaking. “It is… pleasant, getting out of my own village. There are so many rules there.”
“Is it true what I’ve heard about the metallurgist elves?” Shu-Giri queried.
“What have you heard?” the other man asked, his voice smooth and low, like butter melting over warm bread, finding its way into the smallest hiding spaces. He seemed shy, but all the sweeter for it, coy, but not in the playful way that the fae were.
“The celibacy,” Shu-Giri clarified. “For being a part of Jzamneh, you are terribly reserved about your love-making.”
Gelkrem nodded. “It is a necessity.”
“I could not imagine having to hold back like that! Is it some sort of promise that you’ve made to the gods?”
“It is the elemental Tezanth whom we revere,” Gelkrem told him with a sigh. He stared down into the pale yellow of his ale for a moment. “But it is not because of a promise to him”
“Then why?” Shu-Giri feel terrible for pressing the issue, but he had been curious about the metallurgists for as long as he could remember, and this might be his only chance to get some answers.
With another sigh, heavier than the last one, Gelkrem pulled back his hood. The hair that he had kept hidden underneath it looked like rays of sunlight, long and golden, and it seemed to shine in the dim torchlight of that part of the tavern. Shu-Giri stared at him for a long moment, and then stood up. He stepped up beside him and reached how his hand to take a lock of his hair, running it through his rough fingers as though in awe of what he saw.
“Is this…?” but Shu-Giri could hardly ask the question, such was his disbelief, and his words railed off.
“Gold.” The word came Gelkrem’s lips solid and final. It confirmed what the other man had been thinking but dared not believe. “The metallurgists do not just work metal and adore it and collect it. We need it. It is part of our being, it lives with our body. Or… it allows us to live. It is hard to explain.”
“There is gold within you?”
Gelkrem nodded. “I am not all gold, though. I am as organic as any elf.”
“So it is true…” Shu-Giri cut in. “You really do rely on your metal to live.”
With a slight nod, Gelkrem turned to look up at him. His eyes shone as they met Shu-Giri’s, the irises as gilded as if they had been poured from molten metal to be set into a statue. The other man’s eyes, pink as springtime and of a softer shade, could not help but stare.
“Wow,” he whispered after a moment. The strands of hair slipped out of his hand and he moved to touch Gelkrem’s cheek. “Why do you hide yourself? You are so…”
Gelkrem pulled away, shaking his head. “That is a matter of old history,” he said. “Dusty books and shadowy parts of libraries. Do not ask me to explain it all.”
Disappointed though he was, Shu-Giri returned to his seat, and took a long drink of his ale. After all, he did not want to scare away this potential new friend so soon. “When you are ready, you can tell me about it. In the meantime, enjoy yourself here. My village is a place of fun, and I can assure you that nobody here would mean you any harm.”
Peering around the room, Gelkrem seemed dubious of that claim. It was as though the idea of fun itself was where the trouble was. Shu-Giri would have a lot of work to do if he intended to assure the golden-haired elf that he was safe, but that was exactly what he intended to do.