Maximilian did not realize until much later the importance of the timing of the elven healer’s intervention. Had his family stayed, there would have been considerable trouble for his family and even more attention from other persons with more power to cause trouble for them. But for the moment, the wandering elves were a kindly and oftentimes amusing guard for their journey north. It took more than a month; such was the way when traveling with minstrels, who did not proceed in a direct path anywhere.
They traveled under cover, keeping their heads covered such as to blend in well with the rest of the elves. They ate with them and listened to them as they conversed around the fire each evening. He was happy, listening to their stories and songs, and being shown the ways of the elves.
They parted ways near a small creek that they said marked the beginning of the terrain of the Wood Elves. There, several of them, along with a few human men were waiting.
As they approached a bridge marked with a stone guard and could more clearly see the faces of the men in this new party, he saw his father’s face light up. They greeted one another as if they knew each other well. As the men bowed respectfully to his mother, shyly he hung back, with his fingers held tightly in his mother’s hand.
“Hello there,” the eldest of the men leaned down to greet him. “You must be Maximilian,” the man smiled.
Max stared back, wondering exactly who this man with the staff in his hand happened to be . He looked up at his mother for a moment wondering how to respond. When she nodded, he looked back at the man. “I’m Maximilian Wolfram. I’m named after my grandfather.”
At this precociously rendered statement, the men about them began laughing uproariously, only to be stilled when the man gave them a rather terrifying glare.
“I know that,” the man answered gently. “Because it was I who insisted on you being given that name, lad. One day you will understand why.”
“You’re my grandfather, aren’t you,” Max blinked astutely at the older man, who nodded mutely, perhaps a bit overcome by some emotion that the young child could not quite determine for himself.
“Come,” his grandfather said gravely, holding out his hand. “Walk with me, and let me show you this place where the Wolves of the Northlands dwell.”
Without hesitation, Maximilian dropped his mother’s hand for his grandfather’s.
Together, they walked across the bridge.