Nelda gaped in amazement at the satyr, trying to avoid looking at his unfeasibly large package.
The satyr, for his part, seemed less than impressed. He bent down to pick up a large bunch of leafy branches and hefted it over his shoulder. "Well, never mind. People in clothing are always trouble, anyways." The satyr turned and started walking along a faint path down the hillside.
"Wait, wait!" Nelda scrambled after him. "I'm not trouble. I'm just in trouble."
All she could really see was a bouncing bushel of leaves ahead of her. Her steel-toes shoes were not made for hiking, and it was quickly getting dark.
The satyr crossed a small meadow of waving orange flowers and then ducked into the trees, with Nelda in close pursuit.
They entered an area where the trees were noble in stature with little in the way of undergrowth, and pale grey and yellow outcroppings of stone projected from the ground haphazardly among them. Nelda could hear the river very nearby.
It suddenly dawned on her that there were satyrs strewn all around this pastoral scene. Her eyes jumped from one to the other, maybe a few dozen in total. Their activities could be divided into three main categories: those engaged in sexual activities, those eating or drinking, and those doing both.
Nelda's face flushed. [I'm used to being the most uncouth person in the room most of the time].
A younger, beardless satyr with red hair and large curled horns hopped nimbly down from his perch on a large leaning tree. "HoneyBeard, my brother. It is good to see you have brought the flying leaf for tomorrow's festivities. But for what purpose did you bring this freak?"
"It followed me home." HoneyBeard shrugged.
"Well," Red Hair looked Nelda up and down and seemed likewise unimpressed. "There's only three types of folk that wear woven clothes: priests, nobles, and gods."
"Hmmm," HoneyBeard agreed. "The clothes aren't nice enough for the noble, and the rest sure doesn't look god-like. More like a starved mermaid on the top and I-don't-know-what from the cooch down. Assuming it has a cooch."
Nelda interrupted. "Well, that's fine talk from a man who looks like his cock needs to be walked on a leash."
Red Hair burst out laughing. "That's true, that's true. Because your cock is very large and hairy."
"Thanks for the explanation, bugle-head," Nelda snapped.
This set off HoneyBeard. "Har har har, bugle-head." His belly laughs doubled him over so his horse-like tail flipped up into the air, exposing the gargantuan balls that went with his cock. Nelda wasn't quite sure whether to be amused or appalled. [I must be in shock].
"So, little priestess," HoneyBeard wheezed out between guffaws. "What god did you offend to end up like this." His gesture indicated her body generally.
"No, no, no," BugleHead interrupted. "If there is going to be a story, everyone will want to hear it."
Nelda was taken to a relatively clear area right next to the river. The ground was sandy and dotted with low boulders and what looked like makeshift mattresses made from dried grass and fern branches.
HoneyBeard sat down heavily near where BugleHead had brought Nelda to a halt. He was still carrying his bunch of tree branches. [Flying leaf?]
BugleHead rather presumptuously lifted Nelda by the waist and set her on top of a foot-high rock with a flat top. Word passed quickly, and about fifty or sixty satyrs appeared and sat down all around her, bringing with them fruits and flasks as many of them continued to eat and drink.
They all appeared to be all males ranging from teenagers to the elderly. Their appearance was diverse. Hair of every shade and texture sprouted from their bodies and horns came in different sizes and configurations. Many were very fleshy but some were thin.
After most of them were settled in BugleHead clapped his hands together. "Quiet now. The Freak Priestess is going to tell her story."
"I would really prefer it if you called me Nelda."
"What's a Nelda?" came the gravelly voice of a stooped elder.
"Why I am. I'm a Nelda." [I wish I had some idea of what this world is like. How do I tell this story in a way they will understand, and that might get them to help me?] "What is it that you would like to know?"
"It's your story," HoneyBeard said dismissively. "So you have to decide how to tell it."
"Right." Nelda took a deep breath. "I was working in a… temple. This temple is in my land where all the people who look like me live." She paused. The satyrs were all watching somewhat attentively. "I am a minor priestess," she ventured. "Like a priestess assistant, and I haven't been told many of the secrets of the… uh, cult. I mean, religion, I guess."
"Priests don't like to tell their secrets," a merle-coated man commented grumpily.
[Okay, I haven't lost the audience yet.] "So, uh, today I was instructed to take some… offerings to the… altar. And normally I would give these offering to a more senior priest and he would actually put them on the altar." Nelda mimed the action tentatively.
"That's priests all right," the spotted man commented again. "Never have one person do an action that could involve four people and a complicated ritual."
"Uh, yeah." Nelda ventured a smile. "But that priest fell and hurt himself. So the senior priest yelled that I should position the offering, but he may not have noticed I was… the wrong sort of priest. Anyway, because he ordered me to do it, I did. And then there was a big flash of light"--jazz hands--"and suddenly I was here."
Loud conversation sprung up immediately as every satyr shared his thoughts with one another or shouted it into the air.
"...Messed up the offering."
"Angered the god…"
"...Mistake by the high priest."
[Well, at least my story seems to be working for them.]
The elderly satyr who had spoken earlier thumped the ground with his rough-hewn walking stick, bringing some hush to the gathering. "Nelda, tell me," he said. "This priest who directed you was he older than you and senior in your faith?"
Nelda was struck with the image of Dandruff in purple hierophant's robes. "Well, yes," she replied. "Of course we was."
"So," the elder concluded. "That means the mistake belongs to the priest, not the one he commanded… but!" He held up one bony finger. "The obligation of correcting it in no way falls on us."
General conversation was taken up again, but none of it was directed at Nelda. A good number of the satyrs just wandered off--as if they considered the matter closed.
Nelda stooped down awkwardly and sat on the rock with her legs dangling off the edge nearly reached the ground. All of the satyrs seemed to be avoiding eye contact with her. [What do I do now?]
HoneyBeard's large bunch of branches was lying near her and brushing her ankles. Nelda idly reached down and plucked a small green leaf. She rubbed it between her finger and thumb. It smelled very faintly of mint. Her mind being somewhat disoriented failed to stop her from acting on a passing impulse, and Nelda swallowed the leaf.
I am self-editing so comments pointing out typos, errors, unclear scenes, or any other problems are greatly appreciated.
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