“So, if you’re an adventurer,” Cerys said, “is it that you think you can do the most good by exploring the world outside the forest?”
Nashtra gave a slow, thoughtful nod. “As much as we like to preserve our traditions, I think it is important that we do not seclude ourselves. It is important to know about the world around us, and help to protect it if it is ever in any danger. Sometimes, even helping others on their quests contributes to the greater good.”
Cerys looked up at him, met his eyes, and asked him, “So just how much do you know about our quest, anyway?”
He did not pull his gaze away from her. He kept his eyes locked with hers, and replied, “I cannot tell you right now.”
Cerys could not reply, she was too busy staring into his eyes, curious about their color, but also trying to figure out what he might be thinking. Although he seemed to be open about himself, there was a part of him that was also very mysterious. It fascinated her, in much the same way that the elves in her other fantasy books and movies had always fascinated her, but also in his own very special way. He was not like most elves in her fantasy stories. It was not just the fact that his forest seemed alive with electric energy; there was something about him that drew her to him.
Che had to catch her breath, realizing suddenly that she had been staring into his eyes. And wondered for how long. She could not pull herself away, however. No matter how strong her will, it took an outside force to interrupt them. Another voice, an older man, walked up to them, speaking words that Cerys could not understand.
“I am grateful for your welcome, father of our village,” Nashtra intoned as he bowed his head to the older man. Then he opened his hands towards him. “I have brought our guests, our allies on a quest to serve the crown of Summerlay.”
The old man took Nashtra’s hands into his and nodded to him. His skin was wrinkled, his arms speckled with spots the way an elder humans was, except with a slight blue hue where humans had brown. Cerys half expected them to be shaking, but in the end, she supposed that elves did not have the same degradation of the nervous system with age that humans did.
The old man spoke to Nashtra a few more words of their native language, and then looked to the humans. He seemed quite content in his own body, smiling, without any disdain or shame for his advancement in years. His hair had gone silver, and looked like it had not been cut for ages. It was thinning, of course, but it had neatly been combed and pulled back, so that it was out of his face and tied into a neat sort of ponytail. Cerys wondered whether he’d had adventures like Nashtra in his own youth, or if had other abilities to speak for.