Masair was a small, dusty town. The houses were small when compared to those in the city. But to Dina they were sights to be drunken in with awe sparkling in her eyes. She skipped quickly, taking in the people working in fields and the children chasing each other. The women wore simple dresses but the bright colours and patterns drew her eyes to them. One women smiled gentle at her and she turned away in embarrassment. She thought she heard the women give a soft giggle. It was a different sound from the cruel laughs she heard in the cage. It had taken her a long time to distinguish the two types. But spending time with both Drakmor and Sage had helped a lot. She glanced behind her shoulder and saw Drakmor and Sage lingering a few paces behind her. Sage seemed surprised by the town, but it was ringed with sadness. One Dina struggled to understand. What was sad when the people seemed so friendly and happy? Drakmor seemed more distant, scanning for danger Dina thought with slight annoyance.
“The office is further up the hill,” Leopold said, though he was speaking to fellow crew mate and not her. Everyone seemed to watch them with a mix of curiosity and excitement. She wondered just what horrors they had been put through.
“Dina, wait out here, don't wander off,” Leopold's voice was kind but firm. Dina nodded vigiously and felt Sage ruffle her hair a little.
“He's right, stay here,” Sage said before she walked into the building. It was the biggest one Dina had seen in the town. But she had a feeling it would be a squeeze.
“Who said you were joining?” she heard Leopold complain inside and grinned. Drakmor liked shoving his nose where it wasn't wanted. The others went to different places, some heading for the nearest tavern, others back to the ship. Another couldn't seem to reach his destination faster, maybe they had family here? Dina had a better understanding of what a real family was, warm and caring. She blinked away tears and looked around, finding her eyes meeting anothers. His eyes were a striking green but the moment of eye contact didn't last as he was shoved to the ground. Dina's muscles tensed as a group of boys surrounded him, kicking at his form. The cruel intent in their eyes so different from the innocent laughter she had seen moment earlier from the children.
“Stop!” She half barked. They stopped as one and glanced up at her. The tallest one, who must've been the ringleader narrowed her eyes.
“Stay out of this, stranger,” he demanded. He moved to turn his attention away and Dina growled. The noise was feral enough to make the other boy back off quickly. The ringleader watched her with shock, his face growing pale.
“Your...your one of them!” he yelled. She assumed he was talking about her ability to shift shape and continued watching him with that cold, intense look Drakmor always used when facing down enemies. The others seem wary, another growl might make them run, but the ringleader seemed mildly amused.
“Well,” he began, "Looks like Luca's not alone anymore.” He gave the boy another kick and walked off. Laughing and grinning, happy for all the world to see. But from the corner of Dina's eyes she could see him studying her. The moment they were out of eyesight she knelt by the boy and realised he wasn't as young as she had originally thought. He had to be in his late teens based on the stubble attacking his lean face.
“You shouldn't have done that, now they'll bother you too,” He muttered. He stood up and buckled when attempting a step. Dina reached out to grasp his arm without thinking and saw annoyance in his expression.
“Stop helping me, you'll just make things worse,” he muttered, pushing her away, it was enough force to make her take a few steps back. She burrowed her forehead in confusion, she thought he would've been more happy for the help.
“S-s-sor-rry,” she said and quickly turned to leave. Finding her struggle to stutter the word out embarrassing when compared to the ease he spoke with.