233-Patrick's analysis

Patrick and his party traveled north, along the border, and then west.
This is in preparation for an open war with the Empire.

It is important to understand the terrain, and there are people who live along the border.
Most of them are criminals, though.

The landscape changes from a mountainous area with many coniferous trees to a deep forest with many hardwood trees.

I have them prepare a meal by the creek, and Patrick looks around with Mirko.

'Mirko, take a look at this.
Patrick says, pointing to the sandy soil of the creek.

'That's a footprint.'
Mirko nods in confirmation.

'Yeah, they're still fresh. They're bare feet walking on the sand, so the footprints are clear and easy to see. The width of his feet indicates that he is not a human. Probably an elf. The stride length suggests a woman or child, maybe two.
Patrick analyzed.

'Should we look for them?
Mirko asks,

'Searching for elves in the forest is quite difficult, but let's try. The grass is down there, so that's that way. Let's go.
So Patrick walks off.

'I still don't see any footprints in the grass. If it's broken at all, I can make it out.
Mirko replies apologetically.

Mirko follows Patrick as he walks in silence.
Patrick stopped walking, opened his right hand and raised it to the side of his face.
Mirko, who had been walking behind him, stopped walking immediately.
It's a signal to stop.

He then points to an area with his finger and starts walking slowly.
Mirko follows slowly.

There was a woman and a child there.
But Patrick's prediction was half wrong.

'Dark Elves or ......'

Mirko said involuntarily.
'Who the hell is that?

The dark elf woman responded to his voice.

'Don't be alarmed, it's not from the Empire. I'm from the Kingdom. Have you fled the Empire?'
Patrick appeared and asked in the gentlest voice possible.
The dark elf woman showed a relieved expression.

'We mean you no harm, so why don't you tell us why you are living here? Did you escape from the Empire?'
I asked again,

'Yes, we were living in a country further west of the empire, but we were defeated in a war with the empire and all but the human race were made slaves. We were brought to the east by a slaver's wagon, but the wagon encountered a pterodactyl, and the merchant and his guards were killed, and everyone else scattered and ran for their lives.

'When did that happen?

'About a year ago, I don't know the date, but the seasons have come and gone.

'I see. Is it that pterosaur? Oh well. Are you guys going to live here like this? Next year, this area should be entering the war with the Empire, if you're willing, I can give you the option to work for us.

'There will be a war with the Empire?

'Yes, since the non-aggression pact between the Kingdom and the Empire will end next year. They'll probably attack us.

'Is there any work we can do? Is she going to work too?

'There are plenty of jobs. How old is this girl, anyway? I don't know how old dark elves are.'

'He's 50, which is about 10 in human terms.

'Hmm, well, I guess he looks the same. If he's a child, he can at least clean the house, is that okay with you?'

'What do you want me to do?

'Well, maybe a maid.

'Do you want me to do anything weird?

'No! My wife would kill me if I did!

'Oh, you're married, aren't you?
'Oh, you're married, aren't you?' I think I heard a small sound of regret.
The woman's name was Grace. Brown skin, long silver hair. Green eyes, assertive breasts.
She says her child is called Noel.

Back with the men, there is some surprise, but no one complains about what Patrick is doing. After a meal, they set off.

Patrick tries to put a woman on his running dragon. She was able to get on easily, and he wanted to take the child as well, but the dragon did not want to take the child.
'Hmm? Aren't they sister and brother?

Patrick asks Grace,

'Oh, yes. We're from the same village.

'Oh well, I guess I'll carry her.

Patrick starts to walk away with the child on his back, and the child is mumbling something. He says something about being touched on the buttocks. Patrick ignores him and moves on. What's the fun in touching a boy's ass, he wonders.