The woman standing in front of Ruben was pretty yet intimidating. She was, however, more intimidating than pretty. Even more than was usual for women. This one took up a demanding posture and smelled rank with the sea. She also seemed exasperated from what Ruben could read from the look on her face. Maybe this god was not so friendly.
"Perhaps I can make myself clearer," she hissed as she brought out a very long and thin knife. "I'm looking for BIG MONEY. MANY GOLD. TREASURE..." She paused in her patronization to allow the words sink in to Ruben's befuddled mind.
Treasure? Ruben had never really heard that word before. He was sure it had something to do with big money, whatever that meant. Obviously these gods, with their big shiny knives and white-capped vessels, weren't there for worship or power. They wanted treasure, and badly.
Suddenly the point of the long knife was at Ruben's throat, startling him into clutching his guinea pig tighter. This god wasn't wasting any time. He had to think quickly. Treasure. It wasn't a word in their language as far as he knew. It meant nothing to him. Yet...he had heard it before. Or seen it. Suddenly his recollection fell into place.
"Do you mean triasur?" Ruben asked, sounding out the strange word he had once read.
Now it was the woman god's turn to look confused. She brought down her knife slowly. "Show me," she demanded.
Ruben nodded, eyeing the sinister men at her side. If it meant pleasing the gods and keeping his life, he would show them anything. With four gods tight on his heels, Ruben led them away from the shore and to his house.
Ruben's house was little more than a cave in a pile of dirt, but it suited his humble needs just fine. He didn't need to buy a tortoise to get to it and it was fairly easy on the upkeep. It was also just on the outskirts of the city and near the ocean, so he lived pretty much central to everything. As Ruben led three outsiders nearer and nearer to the mountain city, he was also thankful for the remoteness. What would people say if they saw him with four oddly dressed strangers?
Ruben led the four gods into his house. They all looked fairly disgusted, but Ruben didn't mind. He was used to higher classes scoffing at his homemade mud-dome. Shuffling in what room was left, Ruben made his way to his wooden chest. The eyes of three gods lit up, but as he opened the lid, their expressions fell to disappointment. Ruben rummaged through his piles of dirty clothes and finally caught hold of what he was looking for.
The paper was an old relic passed down in his family from generation to generation. It was the only thing he ever received from his parents. The paper was of no monetary value, but Ruben found that, besides Ralfs, it was the only thing he ever really cared for. The writing on it was incoherent, and mystified his family for years. The paper was Ruben's life mystery.
"This," he said as he offered up the folded piece of stiff parchment. "Triasur."
The woman god unfolded the piece of paper with nimble fingers. Ruben watched nervously as her expression deepened into one of confusion and then further into understanding.
"Boys," she said to the three other men at her side. "I think we've found our treasure."