Naetia recovered quickly and walked on quietly behind the Sovereign. Monstroth almost stopped her and asked her more of what his master had meant by that, but stopped himself. Just knowing the man knew something that threw off Naetia meant he probably had a plan for it. The bandit leader was cunning, after all.
Sands, but Monstroth hated being in the dark.
In the distance a city came into view. At first it was just a few tall buildings peeking over the edge of the plains, but as they walked it rose higher. And higher... Until Monstroth realized why it was called the 'City on High.'
Mar was on top of a plateau of sorts, but with one side sloping downwards to blend with the plains. As such, it was a general's dream to defend. At least, that's what Monstroth's father always told him. The city itself, though, was much like Faerein. The walls surrounding it on all sides were impressive, yet not large enough to come close to the Desert Home, and there were a mixed assortment of large and small buildings from what Monstroth could see from his point of view.
But it was strange...
"What is it," the Sovereign replied without looking back. He sounded annoyed, as usual, yet he always encouraged questions.
"The Wall is not far from Mar," Monstroth replied, trying to watch Naetia as he spoke. She had started observing, though still gave off the look of a frightened girl. Pretending, perhaps? "Why did they build the capitol so high off the ground?"
"A buffer," the man said simply.
"A buffer for what?"
The Sovereign stopped and sat down on a large rock Monstroth had not realized was there. It must have been at least twice as heavy as Monstroth himself. "Did you see any farms around here?"
Monstroth shook his head. "No, I haven't seen anything like a farm since we went toward Naston."
"Great Lizards come through here to raid back before the Great War. They would destroy any farms they found, but always went after anyone on higher ground."
The pieces clicked together in Monstroth's head. Of course! "So, by building a stronghold on the plateau, they can defend the farms without worrying about being spread too thin." It made sense, but... "They couldn't take all the attention away from the farms, though, could they? Some Lizards were bound to pass them and attack other places, right?"
"Good, boy," the bald man said with a smile, "You're starting to think. But, no, it wouldn't stop the Lizards completely." The Sovereign spread his arms. "But after moving the farmers to the edges of the border, they really didn't have to worry about it."
Monstroth nodded. "Which explains why we haven't seen any farms since we got here."
"We've only been walking for a few hours, boy." He looked around for a bit, then looked up. "I suppose we should make camp for now."
"Now?" Monstroth asked, "But aren't we almost there?"
The Sovereign shook his head. "Before it was Mar, that Plateau was known as Mirage Top. It has a strange way that makes it look closer than it actually is. Plus, I have a lesson before we get to that place."
Monstroth wasn't sure, but the way his Master had said 'that place' made him wonder how the man actually felt about Mar. He had seemed apathetic so far, but he could have bad memories. Or maybe it was the Sovereign of Air?
In any case, Monstroth found a rest would be well received. Naetia looked ready to fall over and Monstroth's own legs yelled for him to sit. As for the Sovereign... Well, he never seemed tired.