5: Elaria - Part One
As the boat was tied to the dock on the far side of the water, Felanar tried to see any signs of life other than the elves on the dock. He saw no houses and no lights beyond the lamps of the harbor. This puzzled him and he asked Bren, “How many elves live in Melanaré?”
“Several hundred, I would say.”
“Are they all asleep? It’s not that late.”
Llafáris, hearing this, laughed and said, “No, they are quite awake, young master. Can you not see Inla’s house? Or the house of Enéra over there? I assure you, they are observing you even if you are not observing them.”
“I cannot see any houses,” said Felanar as he looked all around.
“Actually,” Bren said, “the Findára live in homes in the trees. But their homes are well hidden by the leaves and branches. You could walk right under a city of elves in a forest and never know it!”
“Of course a single man cannot walk within a hundred yards of us without being noticed,” said Llafáris with a grin and a sidelong glance at Bren.
“That’s enough,” interrupted Ravesfel. “Let’s not start those old arguments again, shall we? Don’t pay them any attention, Felanar, they’re just jealous of each other.”
“Jealous!” protested Bren and Lafáris simultaneously, while the Erenár steering the boat began to laugh among themselves. Felanar joined in, laughing loud and long and for the first time feeling completely at ease around Llafáris – elves could be as funny as men! – and especially Ravesfel. When the old man joked like that he appeared grandfatherly. In fact, Felanar noticed, he had never seen Ravesfel so relaxed. He also felt relaxed and at peace. Elaria was already pleasant to him.