She waited for a minute, wondering if Aaron was even home. When nothing happened, she raised her hand to knock again. But before she could touch the door, it opened a crack, and a familiar face appeared in the doorway.
Aaron was tall -though not nearly as tall as Seth- and had very long dark hair, which was tied behind his back with a piece of braided black cord. His equally dark brown eyes widened as he recognized his former student. "Desiree?"
Desiree did her best to smile. "Hello, Aaron."
The door opened all the way, and Aaron stepped out from behind it. "What are you doing here?"
"I can't explain in a very short time. May I come in?" Desiree asked cautiously. "Or am I interrupting something?"
"No, no. Come in, please." Aaron gestured behind him. "Come and sit down. I will give you something to drink."
"Thank you." Desiree stepped in and left her bag by the door, which Aaron shut behind her before rushing over to a nearby shelf.
Aaron's house was different on the inside, too. There was a table and chairs, and shelves with all sorts of herbs, spices, and preserved food on them, as well as dishes to eat off of. There was also a stone square with a fire burning inside it, and a black bowl - a cauldron, if she recalled correctly- hanging over it.
Aaron rushed to the cauldron with a ladle and two cups. He scooped hot water into the cups and then proceeded to add herbs to the water.
Desiree watched him, a bit pleased to have caught him by surprise. Whenever she had visited him as a child, he always had tea ready for her. It was nice to be able to see how it was made.
Soon enough, he was sitting down and placing one of the cups in front of her.
"Just wait a little longer for the flavor to set, then it will be perfect." He instructed. "Now, what brings you here tonight? Don't you wish to dance with the others?"
"There's no point tonight." Desiree brushed off the idea, as much as she wished she could simply dance again. "I have a decision to make." she paused. How was she going to explain this?
"Such as?" Aaron prompted.
Desiree reached for her cup, then changed her mind. "Nahum asked me to leave in secret. The boat leaves tomorrow at sunrise."
Aaron's face didn't change. "And?"
"I wanted to ask what you know about the continent."
"Not much." Aaron answered frankly. "These days, only Seth would know."
"I don't think Seth would take too kindly to anyone visiting him if they knew where he lived." Desiree scoffed.
"Oh?" Aaron's eyebrows went up, and he took a sip of his tea. "What made you think that?"
Desiree took a drink of hers, then winced. It was very hot. She didn't want to tell Aaron about her following Nahum and Dimitra.
"Desiree?" Aaron looked at her. "Have you met with Seth?"
Desiree nodded. "Not intentionally, but yes. He was very. . .coarse."
Aaron took another sip of his tea. How was his mouth not on fire, Desiree wondered. "Seth has not had an easy life." Aaron told her. "But he helps to care for the people here in his own way."
"Can you not tell me anything about what's out there?" Desiree asked. "Even if it's just a story you heard?"
"Now, now." Aaron raised his hand. "It's been many years since I've been to the continent."
"How many years?" Desiree pressed him. She needed something, anything.
"Too many." Aaron didn't give in. "I don't know that things are the same as they were the last time I was there. It was a very long time ago."
Desiree tried her tea again, and it was a bit cooler. The flavor was mint, with a hint of sweetness. It was nice.
"How do you know that it hasn't changed?" Desiree wondered. Everything she knew was timeless, even if it looked a bit different.
"Things are not the same everywhere you go once you leave this place." Aaron told her. "You will be shocked by the differences."
Desiree waited for him to say something, trying her best to take his words to heart. But there had to be something more.
"Isn't there anything else you can tell me?" she looked at him, pleading. She needed to know what she was walking into.
Aaron shook his head. "I cannot say anything else. I made a promise that if anyone should ever leave this island, they must find out everything for themselves with no bias made from my words."
"So you won't tell me anything about the continent even though you could?" Desiree felt jaded. Although it was admirable that Aaron kept a promise no matter how inconvenient it was, she wished he would break it. That way, at least she could have some more answers.
Aaron took another long drink of his tea before he said, "Desiree, I want you to promise me something."
"What?" she wasn't in the mood to make promises now.
"I want you to discover everything for yourself."
"Isn't that what I would be doing if I went?" Desiree did her best to remain calm. She was upset, but she knew it would pass. She had eternity, after all.
"You misunderstand. I want you discover more than just the continent." Aaron explained. "When you were a child, you took everything to heart. Everything you were taught, everything you found out on your own, has shaped you into who you are now. This place, and your life, is only one small piece of the world."
"And?" Desiree took another drink of her tea. There had to be more.
"Keep your mind open. Do not close it simply because of information that you will no doubt receive, because the things you will learn there are like nothing that you could have imagined." Aaron covered her hand with his own as he added. "And I beg you, Desiree, do not hesitate to stay on the continent if that is what you wish."
"Why would you tell me that?" Desiree felt confused. Of course she would come home.
"Because, more than anything, I wish for the happiness of you all." Aaron said before standing up. "You should go and get some rest before sunrise. I wish you all the best on your journey."
Desiree finished her tea and stood as well. "I will. Thank you."
She went to the door, grabbed her bag, and walked out without looking back.