Home of Sword and Soul
Pasoweu ( Paso-weho)looked up at the frowning Dekesle, (Dec-ezlee) who stood over him, patting her fishskin leather boot on the room's spattered, dried out, and verminous thatch which covered the floor.
" The next one's aimed for your head!," she said angrily. Pasoweu clambered to his feet, rubbing where she kicked him. Even standing, the woman still looked down on him.
"Ga' mornin' to you too! What brings you around?" " It's afternoon, and we got a job-"
"Oh no! Not 'We' anywhere around that camp! Yo ass gotta a job, Fine! I'm happy fo ya! But I still got some spending ta do, thank ya very much!"
" At a bathhouse to get your ass deloused!", Dekesle said with folded arms and a squinting left eye. Pasoweu burped. As usual, she had a point , as he felt a colony making a roadway along his skin. Moments later, a sobered and refreshed Pasoweu sat down to eat at the table of a more upscale wajkhino than that he had been residing. " Fruit juice?" he said on sipping from the goblet beside the plate of steamed vegetables and thick slices of roasted pork.
" Good to see you can still tell the difference," Dekesle said across the table from him. " I was goin' to order up some milk for you, seein' as you had your water ration for the day."
"I like you too! What have you got yourself into lately?" " We've," Dekesle ignored that jab, "been hired by a shaman or some such, to escort her little troup to Banoboswhey!" Pasoweu stopped chewing, then gulped it down, followed by a long pull of the pomergrante juice.
" That's where this wahoo wants to go? At the time of this moon? Nobody goes there, during this time!"
" He wants to." "Well, let his ass go on then!" Dekesle tossed two pouches of fresh minted silver on the table. "That's the down payment for you now. Three more when they're ready to leave. I like you too."
Steam, or some type of vapor, was being exuded from the bottom of the mushroom/star, as it hovered directly over the city. There came a whrring sound from it. The squadron's horses became increasingly nervous. Jadnulvo wished he was upon his main horse which stood in place, perfectly calm and serene, while the little shaman stood beside him. Then, as in unison, all but the cartwheelers, the swordsmen, and the carriers, said, 'Gawds!'. A ramp began extending from the craft, touching down in the main street directly in align with the open gate. Two cartwheeling spring green colored starfish-like creatures came tumbling down the ramp to stand on either side of it. They were followed by a larger, darker green Starfish. It's cartwheel was more genteel than the others or the human imitators. It came at the end of the ramp, then turned directly to face the approaching Shaman Wokale and the swordsman Sadox. Pasoweu grew increasingly curious rather than frightened, almost, almost, wanting to come up with them. He looked behind him at the increasingly loud humming of the framed mirror. Moving shades of light and dark were upon its surface. Dekesle leaned forward on her bow, her chin resting on her two hands as they sat aside the tip of the bow. She thought she understood what was happening here. The missing people of Banoboswhey played their part in her understanding.
The Shaman Wokale raised her arms and stood with her legs far apart before the red star borne strange ras. Dekesle assumed the being was of the High Stepper class outworld type. It in returned, stood over the smaller woman. its intake of breath evident with a rise and fall of its knobbish surface. Sadox stood erect and in the more familiar manner with his sword held before him. The two smaller stars on either side of the ramp, bobbed up and down enthusiastically. Or it seemed to Deskesle. Pasoweu looked on the mirror with even more fascination, as it imprinted a story of long time communion between the two species on his memory. He couldn't decide whether it was on the surface of the mirror this memory was being unfolded or directly being called up on his mind's reflector. Pasoweu wanted to sit and watch, or recall, of that he was sure. The four cartwheelers from the city began doing so again. They came up behind the pair and soon assumed a still position in a manner like the stars, holding hands and touching feet though. Jadnulvo was ready to call retreat. Lest his command scramble off as individuals. Though the idea of bolting as himself was strong in his own mind.
Wokale and the Qu'mos of the ship exchanged greetings, then, satisfied that long buried research equipment was still functioning despite the indigenous beings that often cluttered the site, the Qu'mos bid Wokale and her stinger, a farewell. The two lesser Qu'mos cartwheeled back up the ramp as swiftly as they had descended. The senior followed as genteelly as it had came down. The ramp retreated. There was a whrring sound that wasn't unpleasantly loud, though one could feel it pressing against one's chest.
The ship ascended into the night sky at a rapid pace, dwindling in size, until there was a distant red star that soon winked out before all their eyes at once. The four city cartwheelers made a loud 'whoooo-ayyy' choral before the four fell on their mutual butts.
The mirror glazed and became like a cataract to Pasoweu's sight. Just as rapidly as it had been assembled, it was disassembled by the carriers, all of whom were smiling broadly.
Dekesle turned to see a mouth agape Jadnulvo pulling his horse along coming up behind her. His command had been shredded somewhat; six still remained.
It was the fat, beaded handband wearing cartwheeler, from the city, who voiced the uninitiateds' common expression. "Wot wuz all that about?" The Shaman Wokale smiled on the tubby one and patted his head in passing. Sadox with a flourish scabbarded his sword and followed her back to the others. " Do you know? asked Pasoweu to one of the passing carriers. The younger man, hefted the sack he was toting, and still smiling, nodded his head. Pasoweu bobbed his head, reached out with his palm up hand and went, "Well?" " It would take a far more gifted story teller than I, to give the total tale justice." He turned and joined his fellows who were walking back to the watchtower hill. Pasoweu was set back by the proper pronunciation he heard come from the young man's mouth. He looked back on the city, then at the trio of Deskesle, the robber chief, and his horse, who still had it's tail upraised with nervousness.
At the crest of the watchtower hill, the now more diverse group, began to make camp. Deskesle, Pasoweu and Jadnulvo both stood and bowed when the Shaman Wokale walked over. The trio more or less had acknowledged with each other that their dispute was very minor compared to what they had witnessed. The Shaman Wokale bowed part ways towards them then clapped her small hands twice to signal for the trio to be seated. " Banoboswhey was neither founded by ancient non human Ghaurmid, nor an earlier race of Man. But", she looked skyward in the direction the craft had took," by those beings we met but recently, dwellers round a far distant sun." Deskesle drew up her legs as if a youngster about to here a story. Jadnulvo and Pasoweu though sitting crosslegged leant forward in anticipation. "Long have they observed the goings on of our part of this world. Even when those of Man had settled over the area." " How did they take to that happenin'? " Pasoweu asked. "They did so by taking up on board their ships, those who did, to be as they called them 'specimens'. From them they learned all about the physical, mental, and Knowledge projecting, capabilities of the Human Race." Deskesle raised an arm as if in class. " What have they learned mistress? Do they fear us or hold us in contempt?'
"They've learned both, good Deskesle. And to be happy that as of yet, neither their equipment has been discovered or broken by such as we."
"But good learned Wokale, you,"started Jadnulvo, wagging his upraised hand as if a student wishing to be seen. " Those of us who are attuned to the waves of Knowledge wrapped about our world, can learn to become fluent in the tongues of beings not of Man's type", Shaman Wokale said smiling at the trio. When she looked directly at Pasoweu, she clapped her hands, and laughed. " Yes, if you like, you may receive your pay now. Or, you can escort my small party to the garrison town of Dhoumtolfa." Pasoweu sat up straighter. He also noticed the glare from Deskesle and the puzzled look from Jadnulvo looking between he and the Shaman Wokale. "The last three miles to Dhoumtolfa are treelined and are blossoming this time of year," Pasoweu replied in a low voice as if in a most discreet talk. Which,he thought looking at the smiling Shaman Wokale,probably wasn't possible!