Food and Song

True to her word, Nyhoni had dinner ready in no time flat, and let me tell you, that was the best food I ever tasted. While we were eating, Polo told me that he and his family were refugees, fleeing from what used to be the kingdom of Tor-azia, before it had been invaded and taken over by the cruel men of the north, who had set up their own cruel king to rule the people. Polo could not pay the heavy taxes and feed his family, so they packed up what remained of their belongings and left. He said that they had been traveling for a fortnight, making their way to the kingdom of Brimo, in the mountains by the sea. They had seen no one on their journey but me, and the hideous rider and his steed, which Polo said was because there was no longer any trade between Tor-azia and Brimo, so people had no reason to use the road. After we had finished eating, Polo asked me about my past.

"There's not much to tell," I began "for as long as I can remember I have lived on my own in the forest. But sometimes I dream of something else, a woman with long, dark hair standing over me, crying. And then flames and smoke. Then I wake up. I must have known people at some point, the birds certainly did not teach me to speak, but I cannot remember them."

"You mean you neva had a mommy or daddy?" Tia asked

"Not that I can remember."

"Dat's sad, you can share my mommy and daddy if you want."

"Well thank you, that's very kind of you."

"You know, she's right, how would you like to travel with us?" Nyhoni said

"Really? I'd love to, thank you."

"Now our bellies are full and business is done," Polo said "On to the singing, Tas, give us a song!"

"Of course," Tas said with a twinkle in her eye "Which one would you like, Daddy?"

"Sing the one about the stream and the birds"

Tas had the most beauutiful voice I had ever heard, which was not saying much, but it was beautiful all the same, light and happy her voice rang out over the desert on the other side of the road.

Far away is a little brook
Beneath the great oak trees
The little brook sings fa la la la la
As he runs down to the sea.

Far away is a little bird
Who lives in a great oak tree
The little bird sings tweedle de tweedle de
As she flies up to the sun.

Fa la la tweedle de
There's no bird or stream happy as me.

Now I sit upon the grass
Next to a great oak tree
The brook sings fa la la la la
While he runs down to the sea.

Now I sit up in the tree
In a branch above the brook
Far above the bird sings tweedle de tweedle de
As she flies up to the sun.

Fa la la tweedle de
There's no bird or stream happy as me.

When she finished, Tas flashed me a smile, and I quickly glanced away, realizing that I had been staring at her the whole time. When I dared to venture another look at her, she laughed and gave me a little wink.

"Alright everyone, time to hit the sack, we've got a big day tomorrow." Polo announced, completely oblivious.

I climbed up into a tree, as was my custom, to where I could see the stars. As I was getting comfortable, I heard someone at the bottom of the tree.

"Goodnight, Anysyl" Tas called up.

"Who is Anysyl?" I whispered back down, confused.

"You, silly, it means Freewalker" Tas whispered back with a giggle.

"Anysyl, I like it. Thank you. Goodnight, Tas."

I listened to her soft footfalls go back to camp, then sighed. What a day this has been. I lay awake for a little while, watching the stars and listening to the forest lullaby, and fell asleep with Tas' song echoing in my mind, Fa la la tweedle de, There's no bird or stream happy as me.

The End

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