The goblins gathering on the bridge tipped Guardsmen Eliss to the fact something was happening across the river where the fae lived. No one listened to him, of course. It wasn't his birthright -- he wasn’t the first illegitimate son of a nobleman to land in the guard. Usually, though, everyone could name the sire.
And there was the problem of being half fae.
“The goblins are gathering at the bridge. They’re unsettled.”
Captain Berlin snarled. "I don’t want to hear about anything across the river. Haven’t I made that clear?"
Resentment showed in Berlin face. He didn’t like being saddled with a breed who couldn’t even claim an illustrious house like all the others in his squad, true born or bastards. He snarled whenever the two had contact but Eliss never let the man’s bad manners get the best of him. He also didn’t let it stop him from doing his duty. He'd filed his written observations already. Now he saluted and left for dinner and some sleep.
Bells woke him. Everyone in the barracks grabbed clothing, dressing on the move as they headed out into the yard --
But the first few stopped outside the door, some cursing, but softly now. Eliss had to work his way to the front and for once no one argued. He stepped outside the door --
The world was bathed in rainbow light, the glow brighter to the left, which would be across the bridge in Faetown. Not a surprise. Eliss gave a sigh of frustration and started that way when Captain Berlin and Commander Oris arrived, both of them frantic.
"I told you something was going on," Eliss said, well past anything polite. He hated being wakened.
Oris looked at him, eyebrow raised. "You did?"
"He never did," Berlin replied hastily, his face drawing up into the familiar angry scowl. "I've told you he's a problem --"
"The report is filed and the secretary noted when I went to see him. I made sure it was written in the ledger with the reason for my visit to the officer." Berlin went red and started to speak but Eliss, feeling real trouble heading their way, didn't give him a chance. "It was inevitable that he'd ignore my warning and something would happen. It's done. We have other problems."
"How good is your magic?" Oris asked noting his green eyes and eartips.
"Not very and mostly untested, so not something we want to rely on. The goblins were gathering at the bridge, sir. That was the sign something was going on. Goblins hate water almost as much as they hate humans. They were on the bridge over the river and inching closer to the human side."
Oris looked at Berlin. "You did have this checked."
Berlin said nothing.
"Let's go. You, boy -- with me."
"Ah. That one."
Before Eliss could ask what that meant, the man began to march away and Eliss had to move quickly to keep up with him. This was his chance and he had to find a way to prove himself because Berlin was going to be even worse now. Oris shouted orders to everyone who crossed their paths. Most of those people headed off to protect the town but a few fell in behind the two as they crossed the camp and headed towards the river.
There were more little goblins on the bridge all of them looking ready to run across. Only a handful had come closer, the rest lined up and anxiously waited. But why?
"What the hell is going on?" Oris asked and looked at Eliss.
"I don't --" Eliss began and then stopped. "No elves around, but I can feel a lot of magic out there and it isn't coming from the little goblins."
"Oh, so you can feel magic now, can you?" Berlin demanded coming to stand beside him.
"I could always feel magic," Eliss said, glancing his way. "You never asked."
Which made the man all the more of a fool. Anyone on the human side, even a half-human, who could feel out magic was important to the army camped on the edge of the fae lands. Oris looked skeptical, but Eliss would prove his ability, if not now then later. He hadn't been trained, but that didn't mean he didn't know things. Of course he'd read everything he could about the fae. He'd even gone across a couple times. They'd treated him with respect, but he didn't feel he had belonged there. He had decided to stay on the human side where his few powers did mean something. Or should have.
He needed answers or else just leave the service, because he needed away from Berlin.
Rainbow lights. He'd read about this. It meant something. When he looked up, a light nearly as bright as the sun cut across the night sky and came their way. Goblins cried in despair and the answer finally came to him.
Not a good answer.
"Dragons! Let's get the goblins off the bridge and into a building. They're going to come across anyway because dragons like goblin snacks. Better to have them where we know they're not causing trouble."
"Excellent point." Oris looked at the light and away. Dragons hadn't come this way for hundreds of years. Oris started ordering things. Eliss dealt with the goblins who were more than happy to take cover in a warehouse by the river. By the time he was done, three dragons sailed majestically over the area, heedless of fae or human space.
For the next ten days the dragons flew here and there, sometimes landing to meet with fae. Humans kept out of it. When the rainbow skies cleared the goblins dashed back over to their world, but they seemed less distasteful of the humans who had harbored and fed them.
And Eliss? He was part of Commander Oris's team now and within a month Berlin was reporting to him on fae movements.
He still snarled..