I set my pen on my desk quietly. While I was glad for the work the humans had put in to create a space with a proper leaf-lined bed and a desk I could use comfortably, it was odd having to write on a regular basis. I readied myself for the criticism.
“I am done, First Guide.” I held up the letter to my advisor and she walked over to look at the letter I began putting together.
“To the dwarf who would want to stop our forest from being destroyed…” She trailed off and paused. “Do you not know how to properly address a dwarf?”
“Oh. Usually it’s by yelling because they don’t understand me.”
“I understand that you don’t like them. I understand you wish they didn’t need to mine the earth. But this is no time for petty words. ‘Would that you send a mechanist who has the ability to stop the foreign machines ravaging the forest border’? This is no way to beseech a proud, noble race that cares little for flowing language.”
“Noble, my tail. They do not understand the threats. Look at them in council, asking to mine more, make more metal…”
“Yes, I know, centaur crafts are superior.”
“But they need to help us!”
“Then you need to give them a reason to help. Why do you wear those shoes?”
I tapped my hooves on the stone. “Well, they are almost comfortable. But, yes, I did it in concession to the culture of the people here.”
“You will, as always, have to compromise.”
“The froglings don’t compromise.”
“You’d be wise to not compare the two.”
“Fine. You would have to rewrite my letter, anyhow. So, I need help. I need someone who can stop machines. And I need to make sure they know I am…I am…”
“Humbly requesting aid from a dwarf emissary.” I took the letter my advisor had written and read it aloud..
To the leader of the dwarf crafters,
I understand that your people and my people have a mutual need that I have not been able to communicate well. We are dealing with an incursion of previously unknown robots that are taking hold of the outer borders of our territory. While this is clearly not a concern, I have to make this request to be sure to maintain proper centaur migration. This would also affect your people in terms of the creation of leafwater mead and wood for crafting. As such, I was told to request a member of the Hume blood line for their far-reaching and well-known ability to understand and command mechanicals.
Centaur councillor Drayl Ena, Third Lance
“Will that do, Third Lance?”
“I don’t think they really use wood, or at least wood they would get from my clans, to craft. And they do not appreciate the mead.”
“Well, sometimes you have to give what you have.”
“And I know no dwarves by name outside the council. And I barely concern myself with them.”
“Concession and trust, my lady. You have trusted me before.”
“While I trust you,” I sighed, “It seems too kind. Mechanicals will be the death of us…”
“As such, you should not call dwarfs ‘ground-pounding, oil swilling, scum below the earth’. Who would help you then?”
“This must be the tact I’ve tried with other races.”
“Yes, tact. You even must use it with people you do not immediately like.”
I pulled on a sky blue tunic and fastened a cloak over my shoulders. “Much like how they make me cover up. Send the letter, I will be going to enjoy the sunset while I can.”