Day Twenty-Six: I have earned the Germans' trust. They still don't realize my story is on a downward slope of failure. Oh, and 1,306 words (25,094 total.)
Beroel awoke from the beach. He was cold and shivered as he shook sand out of his dreads. The night before seemed like a bad dream. He looked over to his party and saw many still slept, except for Talau and another warrior. She eagerly looked out along the coast while the man beside her was hesitant. Beroel stood up and walked beside her.
"There's more mountains up ahead. We'll raft around them and keep moving." she said.
"Shouldn't we start to head back? We're already ten days off from the village."
She shook her head, "We still haven't found what we're looking for."
The other warrior was loosing his patience, "We'll never find anything at this rate. We're tired. There's nothing out this far!"
Beroel joined in, "Things have just started getting interesting, why turn back now?"
The warrior folded his arms, "Interesting isn't the word for it."
"There's no point in turning back empty handed." Beroel said.
Talau smiled, "And that is why you're my head of command."
Beroel forced a smile. It would be counter-productive to add that he only wanted to continue on so he didn't have to return to the village so he kept quiet. After spending so much time with these people, he almost felt guilty to leave them, but he knew he had to. He did not belong in the village.
When everyone was awake, they headed towards the mountains and set up their rafts. It took until nightfall to reach land and they were all exhausted. They set up another camp and slept until morning.
"Halt!" Talau called out.
The warriors stood together with their spears gripped tight. In the distance, they saw figures moving. They were tall, wore cloth light in color, and were bulky. The bulk was only from the large bags they carried. Where were they going with so many items?
"What are they?" Talau asked Beroel.
He thought for a moment, "Merchants, I believe. They travel long distances to sell their wares."
"What if they're refugees?" One of the warriors blurted out, "What if they're escaping the lands ahead!?"
Beroel scratched his head, "They don't seem flustered enough to be refugees. They're clean and neatly packed."
"But how could we really know?"
Beroel laughed, "How about we go ask them?"
He attached his spear to his back and sprited towards the foreign people. Rekas and a few others ran off to join him. Some, however, remained with Talau whom did not seem pleased. They had no clue who these people were. Why would Beroel risk something like this?
The bulky people saw Beroel's group approach and huddled together with their weapons drawn. The head warrior saw this and motioned for his men to ease their pace. Slowly they approached the people, raising their hands to show they brought no threat. Beroel let out a hearty hello when they were close.
To the people, the greeting sounded like, "Alii! Ak chad er a Zehnai!"
The strangers were quite confused. They whispered among each other to try to decipher the words, but it all ended in shakes of the head and shrugs.
One of the people turned to Beroel and said, "Uh...hello! I think...umm...not sure what you said there, pal. Could you maybe give it another go?"
Beroel and his warriors whispered to each other. Huh? What did they even say? They're words were so slippery. It was like talking with a mouthful of water. I mean, whatever it was it was friendly...right? No one would smile so awkwardly if they meant to do harm.
Rekas gave it a go, "A ngkek a Rekas. Ke chad er ker el beluu?"
The strangers sighed, "Uhh...no? We don't want to buy any?"
Both parties stared at each other.
The one stranger clapped her hands together, "Well...it was nice to meet you uh...Chad was it? But we're going to get going. We have people to meet...people who speak the same language..."
The crowd began to nervously move away. This was worse than Rekas's cooking, Beroel thought. Which is mean because he tries really hard. This was their first interaction with people in days and they couldn't let it end so poorly.
Beroel called out, " As yuu wis mai laydee!"
The people turned around and looked at him. Their expressions were bad, but they weren't good either. They're faces kind looked like parents who watched their drunk child perform a dance recital. They walked back to the warriors.
"What did you say to them?" Rekas asked.
"The thing the kanigits say to women in that book. It means uh, I'll help you nice girl, or something." Beroel answered uncertain.
The woman looked at him, "What else do you know how to say in Common?"
Rekas nudged Beroel, "Saw something else from the book."
"Uh," The only thing else he recalled was what the kanigits said to the giants lizards, "Tan bak foul bees!"
One of the strangers whispered to the girl, "I think he called you a 'foul beast'."
She shook her head, "No, I think he's telling me to watch out for bees."
Beroel forced a grin in hopes that what he said was adequate. The girl forced a smile back and then huddled again with her colleagues.
"If they were thieves, they would have attacked us already."
"It could still be a trap. Who runs around with fishing spears on their backs?"
She sighed, "Look at them though. Who runs around looking like that anyway? They're obviously not from around here. We should take them back to Mainstay with us."
"Back to Mainstay!?"
"They're nothing the guards can't handle if they get out of line. And besides, if we do encounter thieves, they'd only aid us." She smiled.
They back towards the warriors. They all wore goofy grins like panther cubs that wanted to cuddle. The strangers motioned for them to follow. Beroel bowed as a thank you and waved for Talau and the rest to join them.
"How many are there?" One of the strangers asked.
"It doesn't matter. The carts are just past that hill. We'll cram them in and get to Mainstay bytomorrow night."
The strangers lead the warriors to the carts and they sure did cram them in. The girl invited Beroel to sit with her as she held the reins of the animals that ran the one cart. They were large beasts covered in short fur with thick hooves. They were actually kind of cute...and probably rather tasty.
The girl turned to Beroel, "This may be a shot in the dark, but..."Sueleb"."
He looked at her and replied, "Ungil sueleb!"
She laughed, "So you're from Ruun?"
" Ruun? Ng techa a Ruun?"
She twisted her mouth, "We're not going to get very far this way."
She pointed to the animal pulling the cart, "Horse!"
At first, he thought she was just being crazy and yelling at her animal. But then he because to realize she was saying the animal's name was 'Horse'. He patted it on the back.
"Alii horse." He said to the animal as it trucked on.
The girl was curious, "Alii must mean hello?".
Beroel didn't respond so she took it upon herself to turn back to the cart full of warriors and wave while saying, "Alii!".
They waved back and seemed quite pleased so she turned to Beroel, waved, and said, "Hello!"
It took him a moment, but he realized she was trying to teach him her language. He returned the greeting and she continued the lessons. By nightfall he had learned so many words such as, "grass", "tree", "rock", and his favorite, "spear". He still could not communicate with the new people, but he was learning. Wherever they were taking them, he hoped he'd learn even more.