As they continued along the road, the population was becoming steadily denser. Elves walked along the beaten track, transporting baskets, ewers, wood and the likes. They would stop and bow, and then wave, or shout a warrior’s greeting. They seemed happy, these woodland elves – yet what astounded Elladan the most was the fact that many of the ladies carried children. He had never seen so many young ones, together in one place. They toddled behind their mothers, helping with what they could; the younger ones were strapped to their backs or sides with strips of colourful cloth. It was a marvel to behold, and just one glance at Melven told him that he too, had realized how young this population was.
Galdithion watched the play of emotions on his friend’s beautiful face, he knew what he was thinking, for he had had a similar yet opposite first impression of Imladris.
“You marvel at how many young ones you see.”
“I do. The average age of these people is much lower than in my homeland.”
“True,” he began, as Melven turned his ear to listen to Galdithion’s explanation.
“Alas, our mortality rate is equally high. ‘Tis a simple necessity that our women bear as many children as they can,” he said casually.
Melven frowned at the warrior’s comment, and it did not go unnoticed.
“Speak your mind, Melven,” invited Galdithion, catching Elladan’s attention as he also turned to hear his retort.
“It just seemed to me that you spoke words that would sadden the hardest of elves, and yet your tone belied no feeling at all.”
“And why do you think that is?” invited Galdithion, wondering if the warrior could start to think before passing judgement.
“Well, perhaps because this is something you have lived with all your life, ‘tis not surprising to you, yet it is also a daily reminder for you of the high cost you pay to protect your home.”
Inspired by Arcane Land, chapter 2 from Alpha Ori.
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