5: Elaria - Part Twenty-Five
Ravesfel spoke up now. “Come, let us not waste the whole day with fine words and gifts or else we shall never make our exit.”
They loaded up the horses and mounted, the four travelers ready to retrace their steps. As they rode off, Felanar looked behind him as the family receded in the distance, standing under the massive tree of their home. He saw Alessa’s long brown hair blowing in the breeze and she stared after the travelers. Even at this distance Felanar fancied he could see the inner light of her eyes, but perhaps he was imagining it. Suddenly he caught her faint words calling out to him, “Remember to practice your animal tongues! I shall send Tassair to check on your progress!”
Felanar smiled and waved back and then she was out of sight and the scent and beauty of the land surrounded him in silence, broken only by the birds. Felanar wondered what they were saying and tried to make it out but couldn’t.
They rode that day back to the tree in which they had spent their first night on Elaria, just this side of the water separating Elaria from the Elven Plain. They spent the night there and the next day crossed the Plain. Two days’ ride brought them back to their boat where Llafáris took the horses and headed back. As he turned away, Felanar distinctly heard Llafáris say "stay close" to the horses and Felanar was thrilled that he could understand.
Their return trip was uneventful and within a few days he was back home at last. His family was very excited at his stories of the elves, and Chafrar was keenly interested in anything to do with Ravesfel. Chafrar also seemed to find it significant that Llarand had asked about them.
When it was time for bed, Kara came into Felanar’s room and hugged her big brother again and told him how proud she was of him. “You’re an elf friend, Felanar!”
“It’s not only me, Kara,” Felanar said, as he pulled Alessa’s gift out from his pack. He motioned Kara closer as he gingerly unwrapped the leaf package and unveiled two small, carved horns with gold tips. On the horn was carved elven writings, though what it said he could not tell. He handed one to Kara as he told her the story and watched her eyes grow wide. When he had explained the significance of the horn, she looked at it in wonder and couldn’t stop saying to herself, “An elf horn!” over and over again.
After another hug for her brother she ran off to her bedroom, clutching the horn. Felanar kept his close too, for not only was it an elf horn, but it was a personal gift from Alessa. He wondered what would happen if he blew the horn right now. Would it bring elf friends to visit? But he remembered the purpose of blowing the horn and knew he didn’t want to use it frivolously and make the elves angry for calling them when there was no need. He quietly crept over to Kara’s bedroom and warned her solemnly not to blow the horn ever, or tell anyone about it, but to treasure it as her own and to keep it secret.
• • •
The years that followed brought more training from Bren, as well as apprenticing with his father on the fishing boat with Alak. As Felanar grew into adulthood, he and his sister made several trips to Elaria. There they made many friends and saw more wonders. Yet for Felanar no feeling of wonder ever surpassed that first visit to the elves, until the day years later when he faced the dragon.