“Surely you are not too young for it even be possible,” Nashtra relied, as though curious about her age but not wanting to ask intrusive questions.
“I am 17 years old,” she told him. “Actually, I am a few weeks shy of 18. Do any of the elves in your village have children that young?”
Natasha seemed to think to himself for a few moments, and then said, “Now and then, there is someone who enters motherhood so young. It is not considered the best course of action, however, because it means giving up so much else that one could do.”
“What about you?” Cerys asked. “Are you at all interested in having children?”
Nashtra shook his head. “You ask the same question that my mother does. As I told her, now is not the time. As one of the few elves who is able to leave the village and explore the world, I have too many adventures to go on before I am ready to meet my own Lady Rynelle and make her the mother of my children.”
“What about the ones we just saw? Are those men just looking after the children for the day?”
He raised a brow and looked at her curiously. “Most of the time, our tribal members look after their own children. We are willing to help one another, but most of the time, we look after our own children. I know everyone in this village, and I can tell you that those men were the fathers of those children.”
Nashtra thought for a moment, and then added, “I have heard that amongst humans, there is a dividing line between men and women. I was saddened when I heard about it. I could not imagine having to live my life a certain way just because of…” His voice faltered, as though he did not want to bring up the subject of gender. “What is it like where you come from?”
“That happens a lot on Earth, actually” Cerys admitted. “I mean, some places try to make sure that men and women are equal, but there are still a lot of ideas in most cultures that men do certain things and women do certain other things.”
“That is not the way of my tribe,” he explained. “Here, sometimes the father looks after the children, and sometimes the mother. And if a woman wants to explore the forest, being a woman would not hold her back. If she has the talent for it, we have no reason to restrict her.”
“And if a man does not have the talent for adventuring?” Cerys asked.
“Then he should do what he is talented at doing,” Nashtra told her. “Unless you can learn a new talent. But if that is not the way it goes, then they should focus on where they can do the most good.”