“You come from so far away,” the elder said to his guests. “It is so interesting to have you visiting us.”
“We are thankful for your welcome,” Himeko replied. “It is an honor to be able to visit a place like this.”
“I am glad only to be able to meet new people, even though I am so old. It is an honor for me, in truth, because you have brought something new into my life,” the old man explained to them. “I hope that you will excuse how I speak your language, though.”
“You speak it quite well,” told him.
“Thank you,” the old man said. “Now, if I could ask you to come into my home with me. I would like to speak to you about your quest in quiet.”
Himeko and the others nodded and followed the man into a nearby hut. The homes in the village were made of woven reeds, fibers that were long and narrow, and that, when dried, looked like straw as seen from underwater, with a faint blue hue. The woven reeds were supported by sturdier pieces of wood, tall poles to which they were bound. The roof was made of thatch, woven so tightly that it was sure to keep out the rain when the weather changed. It was more of a gray shade.
Inside, the air was cool; not too cold, but certainly not hot either. When Cerys looked around, she could see that it was one very large room, but that there were various screens that allowed it to be sectioned off; there were some areas that she could not see at all. In the first part of the hut, there were several tall clay jars, seemingly for storing food and water, but nowhere to cook. Parts of the floor had rugs, though there were several bare areas.
Nashtra did not let the old man play host all on his own. He went to s stack of cushions that were piled near one wall and brought over several wide, plush ones. Then he carried over a chair– more of a very low, wide throne with a short, intricately-carved back– for the old man to lower himself onto.
“Please, my friends, sit down and be comfortable,” the old man said. “I apologize for sitting higher than all of you. I am afraid that these old bones make the cushions more of a problem than they used to.”
“We understand, sir,” Cerys replied as she rank onto a dark blue cushion. It was softer than anything that she had sat on back home, and was already impressed with the skill that it must have taken to make.