Bernard's Story

“I am not!” exclaimed Bernard hotly, moving to draw an arrow back out of his quiver. “I am Bernard.”  He paused, considering this statement. “But then, if you are a castaway, you don’t know what that is, do you?”

Neik shook his head mutely. “I meant no offense, good sir.  I saw your ears, and I mistook you for an elf from the old tales.”

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Bernard put the arrow away again.  “Apology accepted, lad, and no harm done.  Come in my cabin and we will have some tea, and I will explain.” He led the way into the small cabin and motioned Neik to a rough bench.  “I said that I am Bernard.  Perhaps I should have said that I am a Bernard.”  He paused as he built up a fire in a small brick oven, and then poured water from a jug into a small pot of metal.  “A Bernard is a person with one parent elvish, as you suggested, and the other human, like yourself.”

Neik considered this explanation.  “I would guess that the term ‘half elf’ would be inappropriate.”

Bernard slowly removed two cups from a shelf, and set them on a table near the bench. “You would be correct.  Bernard is polite.  That other term is insulting, and I thank you not to use it.” He waved away Neik’s apology.  “I do not blame you.  You don’t know better.”