Belmarniss can now sorta muddle along in the local common thanks to aggressive use of comprehend languages to hand-translate books after roping a local into teaching her the alphabet. Also she hates teleport traps with every fiber of her being. Also she has figured out at this point that she somehow leveled in sorcerer instead of wizard during the business with the pirates and has no idea why that happened or whether it will happen again. And she has sold this stupid arrowhead to two different curio shops and given up as it seems to be cursed. And she just needs to keep doing what she does, she guesses, till she can teleport herself home. The Yawning Portal is a nicely ironic name.
"-elves have names?" Deekin asks desperately.
"I am Skaa," the male elf says, "and this is Nairow. We've only lived here for a few weeks... but already, I can hardly imagine living anywhere else. Queen Shaori brought us here from the Lost Peaks of the High Forest. At least, that's what we think. We haven't asked her - it's inconvenient to travel to her cave, and she mostly just yells at us when we do."
"Truly she is a just and righteous monarch," Nairow says without a hint of irony.
"Did you like the Lost Peaks?"
They shake their heads fervently. "Too bright," Skaa says.
"Too cold," Nairow adds.
Skaa searches for a word. "Too..."
"Too open," Nairow offers.
"Yes! Too open. Too... free."
"Was Queen Shaori in charge back then?"
"Yes! She has been our queen for five hundred years."
"Has she always yelled at people who asked her questions?"
The elves look confused.
Nairow raises a hand. "I... don't... think so?"
Skaa nods slowly. "It's... strange... that she would... suddenly..."
They both suddenly flinch violently. Skaa whimpers. "I- I'm sorry, what were we talking about?"
"- I was just about to ask you if you can direct us to the Queen."
"Yes, of course," Skaa says, relieved.
He gives them directions to a particular cave, mostly distinguished by notable rock formations along the way, and then directions from that cave to the town proper. "I wouldn't want you to get lost after your audience with the Queen," he explains.
Belmarniss fearlessly leads the way.
Jojo seems almost to be holding his breath until they're out of earshot of the avariel. "That was... disturbing."
"Deekin got Break Enchantment, but kind of worried about what kind of spell hits entire town of flying elves. Maybe not easy to dispel."
"I wanted to keep picking at it but not if it's going to zap them when I'm too good at it, ugh."
Deekin nods fervently. "And if it got failsafes like that, maybe failsafes for disenchanting too. General badness, Deekin thinking."
"So much general badness! Who is even served by parking a bunch of avariel down here and then brainwashing them about it?"
"Somebody who likes - abusing their power to remind themselves they still have it?" Garrus guesses.
"It's such a random abuse of power! If you can do this why would you do this in particular instead of just turning the avariel colony into your sex slaves and private theater troupe?"
"...okay, yeah, I'm not sure what flavor of bastard would specifically prefer fucking with people in this particular way instead of one that actually benefits him. Maybe a very dedicated servant of chaos."
"Or it wasn't intentional somehow? Someone was aiming at something else, and got this."
"Maybe. It seems so specific - but magic is weird." Garrus shivers.
After some trekking, they reach the cave.
Does the cave look magic, trapped, guarded, etc.?
There's no traps, but one of the rocks is carved with jagged writing.
"Rock says 'go away'," Deekin notes. "In surface elf language."
"I don't feel especially deterred, though I don't know the queen's likely to know anything herself, she might be as much a victim as the rest, so it could be a quick visit..."
Jojo nods. "Just in case, though, let's infringe on her privacy."
He leads the way into the cave.