About Moons and Blossoms

Ari landed in a tree and watched the humans. So far the boy and his guardian had nothing but help the centaurs. The man had even buried those slain in the herd. The boy had helped to comfort the colt they had encountered. Now however, the centaur was talking about bringing the humans to the city. That couldn’t be allowed.

She hopped from the tree and landed deftly on the path in front of the boy. The child reigned in and blinked at her in shock. His guardian immediately moved to block her. “What are you thinking?” she snapped, directing her words toward the centaur. “You can’t bring them to the city.”

“We need to find out what we’re dealing with,” Artesius said reasonably. “We can learn more about this human called Anderson from the files in the city. We might even learn where he took the rest of the herd.” He leaned in close as he added, “I’m sorry if that doesn’t meet with your approval, but my herd is more important than that.”

“I’m coming with you,” Ari said firmly.

“As if you haven’t been right along.” The tone in his voice spoke volumes. “At least now the humans will be able to see the attack coming.”

“You stay away from Master Dwyn,” Gwilym said, his voice dangerously soft.

“She will,” Artesius replied. “Let’s go.” Soon they were traveling once more in the direction of the city; deeper into the wilderness.

**
Late that night they set up camp under the spreading branches of hundreds of flowering trees. A full moon lit the camp as darkness settled around them. Dwyn watched the elf carefully from a safe distance. He had no doubt that she could kill him – that she would if she felt he was a threat. Gwilym would likely be unable to stop her. Indeed, he would probably be her first target if she decided to finish off the humans.

“I’d always heard that the elves were a peaceful people,” he said softly.

“Yes, all moonlight and blossoms,” Ari said, rolling her eyes.

“You revere nature and love the moonlight,” Artesius said. “We observe nature – the grass, the sky, the movement of the planets. Nature speaks to us. It sings to you.”

“How poetic,” Ari said. A slight smile reached her lips. Artesius smiled back and nodded his thanks. “The humans just use nature – they break it down and harness it, like the horses they ride.”

Dwyn sighed and looked up at Fletcher. The gelding seemed happy with his lot in life, though he’d never known differently. Perhaps when humans had first taken wild horses in and broken them to harness, those horses had missed the wilds they had known. Their young might have missed the wilds as well, if only from their parent’s memories. Once domesticated however, it was only natural that the beasts would become accustomed to their captivity. Truly, Dwyn couldn’t say if that was bad or not.

“He’s happy and he loves you,” Artesius said, following his gaze toward Fletcher. “Don’t her upset you. Elves have magic to help them travel quickly. Centaurs have their own fleet legs. Humans have nothing like that – except their intellect and ingenuity. Don’t feel guilty for being what you are. Just be the best human you can be.”

“Thank you,” Dwyn replied. He smiled over at Gwilym and blushed at the older man’s gaze.

“He’s better than most, you’ll find,” the bodyguard added softly.

“I’ve noticed,” Artesius replied. “So has Ari, though she won’t admit it.”

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