They found themselves going deeper into the cave than initially planned. They managed to loose the soldiers, but they had lost track of how to get out.
"Py leoch warinla nan!" the night blue skinned male called out, his arrow drawn taught. Thalanai lifted her hands and signaled for her party to do the same. Py leoch warinla nan?, she repeated to herself. The words sounded elvish, but different enough she wasn't sure.
She looked him over, reviewing as much detail as she could of his features. His ears and face were elvish, surely, but she'd never seen an elf with skin like the night sky before.
"Considering it seems he doesn't want us here; it might be safe to assume he means 'You are forbidden' or 'not allowed here." Crista suggested, "They are close, but I am only assuming 'warinla' means the same as 'wyrana'... given the current context."
Thalanai stepped back, and gestured Crista forward, "You've always been better at learning these things than I have."
Crista stepped forward a bit, "Considering he looks elvish, and the words are similar..." taking another step forward, she lowered one of her hands to her chest, "Oaneth lioch Crista."[(My) name is Crista.]
Raising his brow, "Paenir oneth leoch Crista? Pi enor syle paenir oneth. Py leoch warinla nan."
Crista, taking a moment to think over the words, "I... think he said he doesn't care."
"I really wish I knew the tongues spell right about now." Thalanai huffed.
The man looked them over quickly, gesturing for them to begin moving as he stepped aside. Thalanai simply rolled her eyes, and gave L'khariu a grin. The catfolk woman let out a grown, and in unison; Thalanai sent a magic missile at the mans hands, while L'Khariu entangled him with a root snare.
"Now you have all the time in the world to talk." Thanalai grinned.
An hour had gone by, before Crista had a chance to start speaking with him again. They changed out the root snare for a propper rope to tie the man up with, and set up camp.
As Thalanai, and L'khariu, stayed by the fire pit, Crista approached him, "Let's try again." she put her hand on her chest, "Oaneth lioch Crista." she lowered her hand towards him, "Vaelor lioch benir oaneth?" [What is your name?]
The man looked at her puzzled, as she sat down in front of him.
She sighed, and proceeded to point at the other two, "Mile oaneth Thalanai, o mile oaneth L'khariu." [Her name is Thalanai, and her name is L'khariu.]
His face remained confused, "Neth?"
She let out a breath, Okay, Lets assume these are from the same mother tongue. Neth... what did it use to be? I think the old word was... "Nethel." she said to him.
"Nethel..." he pondered, "Nechel? Pae galaech nechel? Pi galaech neth?"
Crista smiled, filling in the blanks of what she understood, "Sa, gaelach 'nechel'." [Yes, (I) mean 'name'.]
"Onechel Drovic." [(My) name is Drovic.] he said to her warily.
Crista let out a small cheer, and called back to the others, "His name is Drovic!"
"Lai wyrana neun? Uh... lai warinla neun... nan?" [Why (are we) forbidden here? Uh... why (are we) forbidden here... here?] Crista asked, turning back to face him.
The man rolled his eyes, "Lir. Lir warinla nan." he spoke, correcting her words.
"Oh? Ah... layr, lai, lir. old fae, elvish, and... whatever your tongue is called. So they did come from the same ancient language." she asked him again "Lir warinla nan?"
"Ila warinu se."
Crista looked at him, not entirely sure what he just said, "I don't know what that conjugation means."
She leaned back, bracing her hand behind her, "Ila. Name? Pronoun? Milae? Ila, milae, mile. She forbid... forbids? Se, seth, sae. She forbids it?" she let out a breath, "Let's hope I have this right. lir ila warinu se?" [Why (does) she forbid it?]
He let out a huff, and looked away. His face showing a complete lack of interest.
Crista let herself flop backward as she let out an exasperated grown, "We could be here for hours, and I don't think we'll get much farther than this. How have you not learned the tongues spell?"
Thalanai shrugged, "Aside from the strix, basically everyone speaks the common tongue. How was I supposed to know there were people living underground?"
"Do you understand the weight of what you just said?" Crista mocked, "Miss 'I am the rightful heir.' Their aren't any records of people living underground, no mention of it anywhere. If we can communicate with them, they might know things that will help us."
L'khariu shifted to look at the man, "It is true. Not even the Cult of Shadows knew about this."
"That's it!" Crista rolled onto her stomach, her foot knocking into the man's leg, "Daethor." [Apologies.] she said to him, before pushing herself up, "The Cult of Shadows was started back at the beginning right?"
"Supposedly we were yes. Where are you going with this?"
"Uh..." Crista paused, "Actually, I don't know."
"Just try asking him how we get out of hear." Thalanai cut in.
"I don't think we understand each other enough for me to ask."
"Oi!" Thalanai called to him , "Waela galor neun?" [How (do we) leave here?]
He ignored her.
Thalanai growled, launching a magic missile at the wall next to his head, "Waela galor neun?" The man going wide eyed at the strike.
Crista looked at her sternly, "if you're gong to be queen, you really need to not do things like that!"
"Riach enor." he said, trying to wiggle himself free.
Crista tilted her head, "I think I caught that."
"Let me guess, he wants to be untied." the heir remarked.
"You understood him?"
She shook her head, "Context." she raised her hand, ready to send another magic missile his way.
"Stop that!" Crista batted at the raising hand, "His language comes from the same mother tongue. I know enough of it from my studies to make passing conversation. I'll try using that instead, and hopefully we can get to understanding each other better."
She sat back down in front of the man once more, "Lyroch imach. Theanor galeor." [(We) are lost. (We) wish (to) leave.]
"Rioch enor." [Untie me]
"Don't!" Crista stuck her hand up to stop Thalanai, knowing another magic missile would be launched otherwise.
The heir let out a small laugh.
Crista rolled her eyes, "Fine." she leaned forward enough to get onto her knees, shuffling behind the man.
"What are you doing?"
"Untying him. Maybe he'll be more cooperative then."
Thalanai protested, but Crista ignored her and untied the man anyway. Both L'khariu, and the heir had their weapons ready in an instant. Standing ready for the man to try anything. He simply moved his hands in front of him, and rubbed his arms, "Dachar."
The four of them waited there for a good long moment, watching each other, before the man let out a sigh.
The man stood up slowly, Crista following suit still behind him.
"Pelnich." he said, gesturing for them to follow, "Pelnich."
"I believe he wants us to follow him."
"How do we know he won't lead us to a trap?" questioned the L'khariu.
"It's either that or stay stuck down here. Atleast if we follow him, there's a chance that he'll lead us to someone who knows how to cast tongues." Thalanai spoke, as she walked towards the man. Her guard remained up as she moved however. Making sure he knew she'd ruin him if he tried anything.
"That's assuming they use similar spells, or even that they use magic at all."
The man looked between them, mild impatience forming on his face, "Pelnich enor."
The catfolk looked between her companions, "For elves, you are surprisingly unwise sometimes." she sighed, following the two of them, "Let's see what happens."
Thalanai gestured for the man to lead them, her dagger pointing the way.
He rolled his eyes, and started down the cave passage, Crista, Thalanai, and L'khariu following close behind.
This is the conlang that I used for this story. I have been working on it for a few months, but haven't started the lexicon for it yet. This competition gave me the excuse I needed to start doing that. Much work still needs to be done however.