Nashtra looked straight ahead when he answered her question, not daring to risk meeting her eyes. “It is true. I am, as the humans word it, as pure as newly-fallen snow.
Seeing that he was shy about the topic, Cerys caught the giggle that was trying to float up from her throat. Instead she asked him, “How old are you, anyway? I mean, how long have you been waiting?”
“Waiting for what?” he asked her. Judging by his tone, he was baffled by a lot of the things she said.
“Waiting to be with someone.” Then she thought that maybe that was not exactly what she meant.
Before she could reword the question, he said, “I don’t know that I would call it waiting. When you say it like that, it makes it sound like I am expecting it to happen.”
“Wait, you mean you’re not expecting it?”
“It will come and its own time,” he replied.
“Oh, I guess that’s right,” Cerys said. “Anyway, how old are you?”
Nashtra gave her a warm smile. “According to my mother, I have been alive for as long as this forest has seen twenty-three springtimes. Although I think that is a bit misleading, because I was born in the middle of winter.”
“I suppose that is a good enough approximation,” Cerys said.
“Perhaps,” he replied. “I hear that in other parts of Summerlay, they keep track of exactly the day it was when everyone was born.”
Cerys nodded. “Where I come from,” she told him, we keep track of the day and the time, and how much we weigh, and how long we were, and a whole bunch of other details.”
“So it’s true set your study of medicine is very advanced?”
“Yeah, I guess it is. Then again. people have been born and survived for centuries– millennia, really– even without all of the information.”
“You seem to know a lot about children and babies,” he noted. “Is it because you have children of your own, or are you a sort of midwife where you come from?”
The question made Cerys chuckle, and she was just barely able to get ahold of herself before it broke out into full laughter. “Not at all! I’m too young for that sort of thing.”