Between gray clouds a steel blue sky loomed above the clearing, a midday sun shone from it. Fathala and Eric woke simultaneously to the noise of a howling wolf close by. Sharing a short moment of blushing and reminiscing the night before, they got up from their bed of grasses and weeds, some late autumn flowers filled the air with their scent. Exchanging but a few glances both quickly started their way back, gathering Eric’s clothes. Leif’s yells were an additional pointer where they had to go. A good knight would seek us out by tracking the trail of clothes we left behind. The thought popped up in both their heads at the same time although they were not reaching out to one another. Closing in on the campsite Fathala reached for the pouch in which the roots she used to chew waited. Confused she shook her head. It was Eric who used to chew the roots, not her. “Stop the yelling already!” Eric shouted back, biting down on a root he just had shoved into his mouth. Moments later the young eunuch knight appeared before them next to the campfire he had continued to feed. By Eric’s hastily donned garments he knew immediately that the two had not set out hunt before he awoke, just as they were to tell him. Grinding his teeth he accepted the obvious lie and wanted to lnow when they would be continuing heir journey. “Now I’d say.” sounding like Eric did come naturally to Fathala although she immediately asked herself why it sounded so queer to herself. “The sooner the better.” Leif grumbled, still grinding his teeth, eyeing he Naga suspiciously. Gently swaying in the wind the reeds around the town looked like an extension of the waves they grew out from, showing and obscuring parts of Reedheim in the process. Travel weary Leif looked at the simple buildings as if his eyes were beholding the bane itself. Market day was approaching, as Fathala told them, market stands were raised on the muddy square outside town. Just as she had guessed, the group wa smet with suspicion, especially since the two men didn’t speak the language, as many of the Galnerrans didn’t, and they were accompanied by a Naga. “What of you?” a man approached them, Fathala couldn’t suppress a smirk, recognizing him as the leader of the village, himself named Eric as well. “We would require two rooms for the night, and supper if possible.” from behind her Eric of the pole pressed against her putting a cold object in her left hand. “Gold.” his thought came upon her mind. Eagerly Eric of the Norsers looked at the piece. It was a worn out coin of sorts, writing, long worn out beyond reading, circled the edge of it. Fathala recognized the supposed coin as a medal of honor handed down in the family for ages. They couldn’t part with it!”Really father?” Leif was infuriated as he too caught glimpse of it. “Really, this is more important a mission than family heritage! Wouldn’t you agree?” Eric hissed back, maintaining a friendly smile for the strangers. To his amazement he understood their language, at least a bit of it. Forming of words came upon his tongue but he dared not speak. A side effect of the reaching out with Fathala? This could prove useful. He smiled underneath his played smile.”Two rooms for the night, and a meal?” Eric of Reedheim repeated, after he tasted of the gold. “Lass, my fellow men, and my wife in particular will call me insane for telling you this, but this here could buy you a house for a month, and hot meals for each day.” he held up the coin. “Perchance we reat here again on a another voyage, grant us free stay and meals then.” Fathala replied, feeling Eric from the pole near her mind. Weighing his options he closed his fist around the coin. “So be it then.” he smiled, displaying his crooked yellow and brown teeth. Turning to the town he shouted, and his wife, big bosomed, big hiped, big bellied and big mouthed, rushed from the planks that lead into town. As he had predicted she was arguing with him, saying that his honest way would be the ruin of he family and the village. On he other hand it was this honesty that had won him her heart.She lead hem into the village after her quarrel with her husband, gallant as could be to a water wench and travel stained strangers. Most of the men in town had ben called to banners, Eric the chieftain of the village remained due to his age and position, but if push came to shove he too would be required to take up arms.The rooms they were given were luxurious by standards of Reedheim, a bed, a waterbasin, a table with chairs, and a hearth. “Food will be served at noon, at sundown and rise.” she said coldly, eyeing Fathala suspiciously. More than once her husband had been taken by the sweetwater Naga. She well knew that it was not his fault and not disloyalty, but the spray of their poison that made him bed them. She wondered if the young Baga was one of them. “Thank you, very much.” Fathala returned the frozen smile she received, seeing the big woman trod off from their rooms. “How far is Naga’na?” Leif asked as soon as the door to the room closed.”South from here is the Albin settlement with the ferries, it’ll take some time to reach,””Can’t we get a boat?” he interrupted rudely. “Can’t you get some manners?” she.replied, again sounding like his father, taken aback Leif stared at her in disbelief and surprise. “We have set out for a different goal, women, remember? Not he bane, hey might be younger people than ours, but they know what they’re doing.” Eric was barely able to hide his amusement over Fathalas come back at Leif.

Advertisements