Tavros glanced back from where he'd been sharpening his sword and watching the sun set. "Yes?"
She wore white robes, trimmed with runes that spelled out the words of kindness and law in the orange-gold color of brass, and looked to be barely out of girlhood... but her ears were easily visible against the close-cut hair, and the hint of points at their tips suggested that she might have some elvish blood. "May I... may I ask you some questions?"
Tavros sighted down the length of his blade, put the polishing stone away, and then wiped the blade with an oiled cloth. "Certainly," he said.
She cleared her throat. "Will you promise not to be offended?"
Tavros considered that as he sheathed his sword and slung it across his back. "No," he said after a moment, "but I promise not to leap to conclusions or assume ill-will. Will that do?"
She looked taken aback, then thoughtful. After a moment, she said: "I suppose it'll have to. It's just that I don't know how to ask, 'What are you?' in a way that doesn't sound offensive."
Tavros couldn't help it: he laughed, holding up a hand when the girl flushed. No, elvish blood or not, she was every bit as young as she looked. "I think you just found a way," he said, and started laughing again.
"I thought you were one of the lizard-folk," she said, "but they're supposed to like water and we're pretty far up in the mountains, and then I thought you might be under a curse but you don't seem bothered, and so I thought that since nobody was talking about it maybe I should just go and ask."
Tavros got himself back under control and straightened. "My mother is a human, a wizard of some renown. My father was a silver dragon, though she didn't realize it until I was born and by then he was gone. I'm a paladin of the temple, and my name is Tavros."
"Aesa," she replied. Then she added, "And I thought I was odd having an elf for a father," and clapped both hands over her mouth while she turned bright red.
Tavros pursed his lips and managed not to burst into laughter again; he didn't want to embarrass the poor girl further. "It's no insult," he said. "I am odd, but I don't feel it as much here, where regardless of our backgrounds we're all in service to Amun. Here, it sometimes feels stranger that I also offer prayers to Demeter than that half my blood is draconic. And I've found that many times, things are only as strange as you make them."
Aesa stopped to consider that, then came forward and stood beside him, watching the sunset. "I wasn't sure I'd find a place here. Elves, even thinbloods like myself, aren't always welcome in human lands."
"Have you met Akkora yet?" he asked. "The arms-mistress? Her mother was an orc. She once held me to a draw in a contest of strength; we had to call it when the table broke beneath our arms. If she and I can find a place here, you can." He scrunched up the scales behind his snout, thoughtfully. "Though learning enough woodworking to repair a broken table might help."