“You’re sure that bunch is as capable as you say, my friend?” Valar asks, in Elvish for discretion’s sake. The majority of the villagers don’t yet know about the problems at the qanat, and he hopes to keep it that way for fear of inciting panicked water hoarding. His cup is half-drained, but what was once a cloud of worry across his face has softened somewhat to a lighter shade of stress.
“Everything will be fine,” Anans replies. “I wouldn’t have allowed them into my troupe if I didn’t have the utmost confidence in them. The tiefling is young, but I’ve seen her slice a beast clean in two with that hulk of a glaive. The halfling’s songs will make your lost party forget all that ails them once they’re found, and the ranger will be the one to find them, sure and true. And should they meet with any trouble, that gnome will lay it out quick as a desert gale. They’ll be fine.”
“I hope you’re right. Reeve Sungeld worries that it will come to the worst, and I understand her concern. We’d not be the first town to sink below the sands out here, nor the last, Mahara knows.”
“You’ve become just as much of an anxious ant as her, ravenhair!” Anans laughs, prodding Valar with his childhood nickname. His shift into Common signals the time for hushed whispers is over.
“I followed her out here from the Canyons because I trusted her judgment, Anans,” the other elf retorts. “That judgment has kept the town from failing these past decades. You’ll forgive me for not countermanding her now, dervish.”
“I suppose not, but by the Lady, how you seem to have aged out here, friend. To look at you now, no one would believe that I went on my first route a decade before you. Come, let’s restore some of that youth! Torvec, another round, if you please!” The proprietor of the smokehouse lays new wine cups in front of the elves with his characteristic silence.
“They’ll find your villagers, Valar, and bring back your water besides. It’s my livelihood, too, you remember. I need that water to come back just as you do, and when it comes to my business, I wouldn’t have sent any but my best to handle it.”
“So the dervish does have cares! Well then for you just as much for me I say may you ever find the Feyqueen’s favor!” Valar raises his cup, his choice of an Elvish toast recalling the oasis where the two elves had grown up together so many years before.