Words: 1,425 (27,825 total.)
Beroel awoke from his nap as the girl shook him. Ahead, a large stone city sat. It had tall multicolored walls and two large towers. Beroel and the other had never seen such a place. What were they hiding behind such walls? And what were they trying to keep out?
He turned to the girl, "What is called?" he asked in common.
She smiled, "Mainstay."
The carts drove over to one of the towers and parked before the guards. They wore suits of metal like in the books. Beroel looked over at Rekas who shared his excitement. Would they too be able to be fitted with such armor? They hoped so.
The guards approached the front cart, "What is your business in Mainstay?"
The girl answered, "Me and my colleagues are returning with wares," she pointed to the other carts, "we also give out free cart rides now."
"I can see," the guard said unamused. He turned to Beroel, "What business have you in Mainstay?"
He was nervous and tried his best to remember the right words to say, but what came out was, "Buisness yes, uh...walk grass and horse...Mainstay yes?"
The guard scratched his head, "I don't..."
But a guard from behind him, "Hey man! Hey! I think he's trying to threaten you!"
The two laughed until the girl interrupted, "They're not from around here as you can tell. But I think they're from Ruun. Maybe they have family in Mainstay."
The more excitable guard said, "Ruun, huh? That place has been long gone. Where'd they even hide out all this time?"
"I don't know. I'm just the driver." she said with the reins in her hand.
The guards motioned for the gate to be opened, "We're keeping an eye on your friends. Keep them out of trouble."
"What? I don't even know them. I'm just giving them a ride..." She groaned.
The guards did not listen. She just hoped that whoever these people were that they wouldn't cause any trouble. Her reputation was on the line. What if they were thieves? She'd have to take inventory on all her ware when they were inside. And if anything was gone she'd give the guy with dreads a scar on his other cheek.
As the carts entered the city, the Zehnains gawked and the many large stone buildings they traveled past. There was so much smoke, fire, and metal. It was like a Judas Priest concert, but none of them would know that. After the fourth wall was patched, the warriors continued to watch the bustling strangers of the city. Once the reached a large, crowded market, the cart stopped and the girl jumped off.
Beroel jumped down and walked over to her, "Where go?"
She walked to the back of the cart to unload her wares and let the warriors get down. She and her colleagues carried their items to stalls and set up their shops. Beroel and the rest of the warriors stood around confused.
"Why are we standing around?" Talau asked Beroel.
He scratched his head, "Well, uh...the merchants are just setting up, but when they're done..."
"I have no interest in the merchants. Find whoever is in charge of this village and let me speak to them."
Beroel was hesitant, but walked around until he found another guard. He was unsure what the word for Chief was in this foreign language. Maybe if he made hand motions the man would understand? Beroel approached the guard to give it a shot.
"Hello! Where is body er..." Beroel stood up tall and stood like a Chief of a village so grand would stand.
The guard stared at him, "...can I help you?"
"Help yes! Congratulation yes."
The guard tilted his head and then scowled, "If it's coin for another pint you're looking for, you're out of luck, mister! Make an honest living instead of panhandling!"
The guard walked away from Beroel. Was it something he said? Maybe it was pronounced 'consalutation'? Whatever the case, he wasn't doing very well without someone to help him learn the language. He turned and walked back to the warriors.
"Well? What did he say?" Talau asked.
"I think the Chief's busy. We'll meet with him later. Let me speak with the merchant girl. I'll be back." Beroel lied.
He did not want to admit to Talau that he still failed to speak this new language. It was embarrassing. He had read books before with some of these words...but hearing and speaking it was so much different. He decided to visit the girl who sold her wares.
"Help, yes?" He asked her.
She was unamused, "I already gave you a ride. How much more do you need from me?"
"Where...uh..." He tried to make gestures but stopped as he watched her smash her palm into her face.
She pointed to a tavern, "You'll see a man in there, he's old, has a grey-"
She stopped as she noticed Beroel's blank stare, "Fine! I'll take you to him."
The girl grabbed his arm and pulled him inside the tavern. Inside she stopped in front of a old man laughing a playing a game of darts with other bar-goers. The man stopped his game when he saw them.
"[this would be a good spot for a name], you're back! And you've brought a friend."
She groaned, "Why does everyone say that?"
The old man and his friends chuckled and drank their beers.
She continued, "I found him near the southern road. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he's from Ruun. There's a bunch of them. I don't know what they want, but they don't speak any Common and I'm not sure what to do with them."
He smiled, "You always did have a fondness for picking up hurt animals and nurs-"
"I just want them off my hands. You've read about Ruun. They're you're problem now." she said as she exited the tavern.
He looked to Beroel and smiled, "Please excuse my daughter. She's soft at heart, but hates to show it."
Beroel forced a smile back and said, "Yes, consalutation."
The old man busted into laughter, "I see she wasn't kidding when she said you couldn't speak to much of the common language."
He put his arm around Beroel and exited the tavern, "Now, you and your friends can stay-"
He saw the party that stood out like bats in a flight of birds. There was certainly a lot more than he anticipated. He glanced over at his daughter whom purposes avoided eye contact. Hopefully none of them had qualms with sleeping outside. He motioned for all to follow him and they walked past the tavern and down a long path of shops. They exited out of the opposite tower and traveled down to what looked like an entire village in itself.
"It's not much. Probably smaller than the hoop courts you have back in Ruun. But I call it home."
"Home." Beroel repeated.
He recalled that word in a book. It was such a full sounding word. Did it mean the shape of the houses ahead? Or maybe the color of the stone? Possibly even the word for the doorways. But, no. It meant something much more, he thought.
The old man led them to his dwelling and let them inside. It was roomy. Their hearth was large and there was even an oven like a bakery. Beroel was surprised that this hut was even more grand than Chief Talau's. Was this man perhaps the chief of Mainstay?
A woman walked in from another room with a look of horror on her face, "[Mr. Name] what is the meaning of this? Who are all these people!?"
The old man wrapped his arm around the woman, "These are refugees from Ruun. They don't speak a word of Common. Where do you think they've been all this time?"
She shook her head in disbelief, "Not here. Not now and not ever."
He chuckled, "But our daughter brought them here."
She looked him in the eyes, "Did she really?"
"Well," she looked at the motley crüe, I mean crew, of people and said, "I suppose there's room in the backyard."
Beroel looked at the elderly couple. They seemed so happy, but it was strange. Why would they be so glad to help random people? Something seemed off. But for now at least, they were all they had to trust. Talau stared at him. She hoped he knew what he was doing.