“Is this safe for me to eat?”
“Of course it is, boy. Of course it is,” the shaman told him, smiling. His smile was warm and inviting, nothing that might indicate a prank. “This was taken from the river. The way we prepare them for dinner takes away anything that might have been unsafe.”
Nashtra’s mother leaned as close as she could towards him. “This is not a very common fish,” she told them. “It’s really is very good for you.”
“It is an honor that our shaman would like you to try it,” Nashtra added.
Peter looked at it again, thinking that usually when he ate anything blue, it was candy; sugar and more sugar. Still, he seemed to be right. The fish did look healthy and wholesome. He reached out his fingers to take a piece of it, and brought it up to his lips. It had a rich taste, somewhat salty, and with a meaty texture. He nodded o the shaman and gave the slightest of smiles.
“You are welcome to have some more,” the shaman told him. “Do not feel that you need to be timid around us. I am afraid that many outsiders consider us very unwelcoming, but anyone that I invite in the forest is more than welcome here. I am glad to have met you.”
Peter nodded to him, and went on eating. He and Bayani tried everything that the shaman recommended, and listened to the stories that he told in between eating his own food. He himself did not seem terribly interested in food,as she he felt no sense of urgency when it came to eating, He reminded Cerys quite a lot of her brother, who also hardly ate. He looked after others, making sure that they had enough (he never let Bayani get hungry when he was at the Westminster residence), but when it came to himself, his attitude was always one of ‘there is plenty of food, and there will still be plenty of it later; I will eat then.’
Somewhere during that feast, the party learned that the old shaman was called Mathoyl Vathall. He had been trained by the previous chief shaman– among several others with the same potential– from a very young age. In the same tradition, he was training other youths in the shamanic arts. Other village leaders could also teach shamanism, and were trained in it themselves, but it was this one chieftain who had the greatest skill. Peter and Bayani both seemed fascinated by the tradition, and listened to him intently.
The feast began to die down as the last of the daylight faded away, and the village darkened. Several of the elves who had already eaten their fill got up to set alight the torchiers that stood here and there throughout the village. Cerys gazed at them as she realized that these were not normal flames; they were shades of blue and green, as bright and captivating as a Schimmel painting, She could not take her eyes off of them for several moments; not until she sensed movement across from her.