Chapter Sixty

Irian and Namid continued along the beach.  Every so often, they stopped to eat, or rest, or chase Cairbre.  The cat-thing had a tendency to chase small animals, and of course he had to stop to “talk” to other cat-things.  These discourses normally carried on until one of them picked him up and dragged him on, squawking.

After a while, they started seeing signs of civilization-abandoned fishing huts and such.  The shore was deepening into a bay, and bays often meant people.

Far off in the distance, Irian thought he saw something.  He motioned to Namid.

“Can you see anything over there?”  He pointed to a point in the distance.

Namid focused her eyes.  Vision honed through years of hunting with a bow scanned the horizon.  And she saw what he thought he saw.  Civilization, if you could call it that.  A small fishing village.

“Yeah, there’s people.  What do you want to do?”

“Go there.  From there, we can figure it out.”

They continued on.  Cairbre was unusually vocal, announcing their presence to everything in the area.  There were a few small surprises, thanks to that.  A very large toad, surely related to the gargantuan that they fought in the sewers, tried to eat the cat-thing, and they had to dispatch it to get him back.  He promptly crowed, as if nothing had happened.  Some time later, the cat flushed out a flock of approximately foot-long beetles, while hunting for creatures near a fallen log.  Namid showed Irian a new trick-she nocked three arrows at once, and promptly took down three of the insects at once.  Irian repied in kind, tossing his blade and skewering a pair of them.

“Still only two to three-I’m ahead of you!”

“Pretty and talented.”

“Really?”

“Have I ever wasted words?”

She thought hard.  In truth, he never did.  She fell silent.

They continued on in silence for a long way.

Nearing nightfall, they reached a series of docks and small houses.  Cairbre becan to squawk uncontrollably.  When Irian grabbed him, he took to the air and continued to sound off.  Lights appeared in windows.  Then, people appeared, gaffs in hand.  They looked ready to fight.

“Is it the alarm?  That kittychicken’s going mad!”

The men drew closer, and the light of their lanterns fell on the pair.  Trio, if you count the kittychicken flapping and squawking uncontrollably.

“It’s not a beast!  They look like they were wrecked!  Wake the village!”

Irian’s mind was in overdrive.  It was already gauging the situation, attempting to work it to their advantage.

He raised his hand to signal to Namid that he had the situation under control.  She slung her bow back over her shoulder.

An older man, forties or fifties approached the trio.  The kittychicken fell silent.

“Are you all right?  You look rough, can we help you?”

Irian nodded.  “If weeks of fish and water are all right, then we are.”

“No, you need fed proper!  How can we be of service, strangers?”

Irian paused, his seldom-used vocal cords struglling to make out the words necessary.  “We were tossed where Manawydan wanted.  I guess he wanted us here.”

The group began to mutter.  “Do you follow the Sea God?”

“My path is that of Cernunnos, but any man is fool who does not pay homage to the Sea.”

More excited whispering.  “Well then, in Manawydan’s name be welcome!”

Irian breathed a sigh of relief. The man continued on.  “Do you seek shelter?”

Irian nodded.  “We seek simply a place to stay, and work for it if necessary.”

The older man looked at them.  In his mind, they were certainly able to pull their weight.  He noticed their weapons.  “Do you seek war?”

“War has sought me, but the Sea God saw fit to take me far from it.  This blade is a tool of defense, if at all.  I don’t seek trouble, I seek peace.”

“Well then, be welcome to live and work among us.  Tonight, we’ll find you a place among us, and tomorrow we can figure everything else out.  Who is your companion?”

Irian grabbed the kittychicken.  “Well, his name is Carbre, but it ought to be Squawk.  That’s all he does.”

The man laughed.  “Beli Mawr, you tamed a kittychicken!  Truly, you must be something.  I meant the one beside you.  Tell me, lady, is that bow a weapon of war?”

Namid shook her head.

“Well then, be welcome as well.  Do you speak, lady?”

Namid thought hard.  “Yes, I do, though I can barely understand you.”

Irian interjected.  “She comes from across the sea, and speaks Englic, though understands nothing more than it and her own tongue.  I’ll bet she can barely understand you.”

“So I see.  Do you know each other, travellers?”

Namid nodded again.  It was evident that she had trouble with understanding him still.

“Will you be staying together, travellers?”

Irian nodded.

“Well, that’s easier.  Is she your sister?”

“No, friend.  The lady here-”

Namid understood this line of questioning well enough.  “I’m not his sister…”

“-is my wife.”

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Published in: on June 2, 2010 at 9:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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