Welcome back, as Kallar continues to watch and think.
At the head of the table sat the youngest of the strangers, a boy who looked like he might possibly need to shave when another decade went past. But his bare chin and silky curls didn’t tell the whole story – in his eyes, Kallar could see years of experience, mixed with some other emotion. Sometimes, the boy – who spoke very little – seemed like an old man looking upon his feuding family with bemused tolerances. At other times, Kallar could swear that those eyes flashed with hatred.
Next to the boy sat a dwarf. Like the boy, he was unshaven, but that was where the resemblance ended. The dwarf could never be mistaken for young, although his personality came across as younger than the boy’s. The dwarf was garrulous and full of jokes, keeping those of the strangers who would let him amused with a constant stream of puns, witty observations and riddles. Once, earlier in the week, another dwarf had entered the tavern. Kallar had watched the two dwarfs recognise each other and then each of them quite clearly decided that the other did not exist in his universe.
In the chair adjacent sat an elf, albeit an elf unlike any Kallar had ever heard of. He was sunburned, restless and more than a little clumsy – the kind of clumsy that made you glad that the bow he wore slung over his shoulders was apparently just for show, because if he were to nock an arrow in it, you’d be in terrible danger. Unless you were what he was aiming at, which was probably as safe as you could be. The elf drew Kallar’s attention more than the others did just because he was so different from everything Kallar had heard about elves, and the more so because as far as Kallar could tell, he was completely sincere about it.