Chapter Fourteen

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What Makes a Family

Fello was waiting outside patiently when she woke that morning. Alex hoped he had not been waiting for long. He smiled as she greeted him and held out his arm for her. It was unexpected, but a kind gesture and she hooked her arm in his. As they walked around the city, she took in all the sights. Though she had gotten a glimpse of most of the buildings the day before, she wondered aloud if there were more than just what was down the main path.

"Aye. Most of us reside here in the city. A few choose to live on their own. Most prefer the kind of community we have here." He responded.

Alex replied, "Your city is different than most I've seen. What is the structure exactly?"

He answered, suppressing a laugh, "We could spend days speaking of our culture and society."

Alex laughed, rolled her eyes and gave him a little shove, "Okay, the just of it then?"

"We have large families, typically ten to fifteen in one household." He said.

Alex must have looked shocked because Fello laughed and quickly added, "They are not all born of the same woman."

His statement just made her confused.

"We live much longer than humans. Six or seven times as long. The eldest in our city is well over five hundred. That is a long time to spend with one person." He said ambiguously.

"So you don't mate for life?" Alex asked.

"Does that surprise you?" He asked.

"A little I suppose. I thought everyone desired love." She replied.

By then they had reached the small pub she had noticed on their way into the city. He motioned for her to sit at a small wooden table and she obliged. He ordered tea and something else that she did not understand and they sat in silence for a while. After a few sips of his tea Fello spoke.

"There are a lot of beings in the world that believe in love. Of those beings out there, the majority tend to believe in true love, one person that is a perfect match with whom you can spend the rest of your life. Again, I remind you, many of those beings do not live as long as we elves do.

"We believe in love, but also that we continuously change and grow. Sometimes together and more often apart. We fall in love, settle with someone for a few years, decades even, and then move on. It is almost always mutual and rarely ends in heartbreak."

"How so?" She asked curiously.

"Well, let me see if I can explain this adequately. Let's say perhaps that a couple had decided to have a child and then a few years later feel that their relationship has reached its end, they will then find new partners who will join them in their house. They will raise that child together and then if the new couples decide to have more children, all the adults will raise them. Everyone takes care of each other."

Alex thought about what he was saying. It seemed strange to her. She looked around at everyone, going about their lives. For the first time she noticed the children. She wondered what it would be like to grow up with several parents, and always have someone there to look after you. She thought about the reefs that were outside the city of Aurora.

When she first looked at them, it seemed to be a chaotic mess of different species all crammed into one spot. The more she watched it became clear how much they all needed and cared for one another. Each ones existence dependent upon the other. If the elves were happy with their way of life, who was she to judge how they lived it.

It obviously worked for them. She told him what she thought and he smiled at her warmly. They enjoyed a pastry type breakfast and set out walking again. He took her by the shops and training grounds. Telling her a little bit about each thing, they saw. The men and women had very specific jobs in their society.

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