thrown from a high window and the moss had broken its fall. The twig began to move some more and quite suddenly, a tousled mop of thick, golden-sandy hair appeared. As the Tylwyth Teg youngster climbed out, his brownish-grey cowled hood and tunic with muted yellow hose identified him as a young Coblyn from the Hunters’ Tower. Nomis estimated him to be only slightly younger than himself.
Nomis did not know who was the more startled. He was not so much surprised at the lad’s sudden appearance, but at their mutual recognition of each other. They both just stood and stared at one another in mute incomprehension for a few moments. The Coblyn broke the silence first.
“Who are you? Or what are you? Are you a ghost?”
“No. Are you?” Nomis smilingly retorted. “Clot! I’m alive just like you! Where do I know you from? I don’t ever remember seeing you before. Come to think about it, I’ve never seen anyone with your colour hair before either. I thought Coblyns’ hair was all very dark … a reddish chestnut colour.”
“Perhaps you should take a look at your own then. Elfins are supposed to have mousy-brown hair. I’ve never seen anyone with hair like yours either from your tower! With hair that colour, one could be forgiven for thinking that your mother had hidden you upside down in a flour bin from birth!” the Coblyn said defensively.
“I see you’ve had to learn to live with it too!” Nomis countered with a wry smile, at the youngster’s cheek. He was instinctively drawn to him. “They call me Nomis, and as you already know, I’m from the Great Tower.”
“You’re a long way from home then. What brings you to this side of the castle?” The Coblyn had the hint of a smile starting, but he was still a bit suspicious at finding this nosey stranger creeping up on him unawares.
“I’m a herblore student, apprenticed to Master Hiral. He entrusted me to seek out a rare herb that’s only to be found on this side of the castle.” Nomis was pleased to see that the mention of his Master’s name appeared to impress his young companion.
“If the great Hiral sent you, you must be very good! I’m also studying the healing herbs in medicine, but mine’s more about the care and treatment of animals and birds.” The sandy-haired youth paused to